Calling for a real debate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., went to the Senate floor Wednesday to defend his debt proposal to avoid the first-ever government default before the August 2 deadline. The McConnell option gives President Barack Obama new power to request increases of up to $2.5 trillion in three separate installments over the next year as long as they’re coupled with larger spending cuts.
Speaking to WHAS-AM radio personality Mandy Connell on Wednesday morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., defended his proposal to give President Barack Obama unilateral authority to raise the debt ceiling even if party leaders can’t agree on ways to reduce the debt moving forward. McConnell’s proposal gives the president the power to request increases of up to $2.5 trillion in three separate installments over the next year if they are coupled with larger spending cuts.
The U-S House is debating an energy spending bill that could be good for Kentucky’s coal industry, but it also has critics bristling. The legislation cuts one billion dollars from energy and water related spending… winding back investments in more fuel efficient vehicles and renewable energy programs. Those are intended to wean the nation off coal. Kentucky Republican Ed Whitfield says undoing some of the president’s green energy investments is good.
Focusing solely on his third presidential bid, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tx., announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election for a 13th term in the House of Representatives. Observers contend Paul, who is the father of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is an excellent fundraiser who would have easily retained his seat despite redistricting, but the 75-year-old congressman felt it was time to move on and put his energy into one last bid for the White House.
The Washington Post blog The Fix says the Republican Governors Association‘s attack ad targeting Democratic Governor Steve Beshear in the 2011 Kentucky gubernatorial election is meant to assess whether Republican challenger David Williams has a chance this November. On Monday, the group launched the 30-second commercial criticizing the governor’s record in an effort to buoy Williams, who is trailing Beshear by 21 points in the latest poll.
The memo from the state board of elections about the process for homeless voter registration will factor in the race to become the next Kentucky secretary of state. Republican Secretary of State candidate Bill Johnson said he plans on filing legal action to challenge the state instructing county clerks to accept voter registration with an incomplete or non-existent address and place them in the precinct of the county clerk's office. A memo written by Kentucky Board of Elections Executive Director Sarah Ball Johnson to all county clerks on the procedure for the registration of homeless voters drew the objection of Boone County Clark Kenny Brown, who felt registering someone without a distinct location and precinct was illegal and could lead to voter fraud.
Speaking at the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts in downtown Louisville Monday, Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams told reporters Democratic Governor Steve Beshear needs to “man up” and stop dodging him at joint appearances. The governor has passed on attending two other forums with his GOP challenger that are scheduled for later this week. Beshear’s staff told the Lexington Herald-Leader he is unable to attend a panel discussion Tuesday at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting due to prior commitments.
Farm subsidies were once a sacred cow on Capitol Hill, but with the federal deficit soaring, Kentucky lawmakers say it’s time to reassess all federal spending. In the past sixteen years Kentucky received more than three billion dollars in farm subsidies. A lot of that was for crop insurance but more than one and a half billion dollars propped up corn and tobacco farmers…according to data from the Environmental Working Group. So, Kentucky Republican Hal Rogers says it’s a good time to reassess where federal dollars go.
The 131st annual Fancy Farm Picnic is coming up Saturday, Aug. 6 with a full slate of candidates running for office in Kentucky scheduled to speak. Mark Wilson, political chairman for the event at St. Jerome Catholic Church, says he expects close to 100 percent participation among the Commonwealth’s Washington delegation as well as among candidates running for state offices in the November General election set for Nov. 1.
Speakers for the 131st annual Fancy Farm picnic have been scheduled and organizers have confirmed candidates seeking statewide office and departing public officials will be in attendance. Time has even been set aside for any GOP presidential nominees running in 2012, but none are on the list—yet.
A civil rights organization known for monitoring right-wing hate groups nationwide has listed U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on its list of “extremist” candidates who ran for public office in 2010. The Southern Poverty Law Center compiled the list of 23 candidates, which includes prominent neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, white supremacists, Klu Klux Klansmen, militiamen and Holocaust deniers.
Last week, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray made good on a promise to veto parts of the city budget approved by the Urban County Council. This week it’s the council’s turn to respond. At Tuesday’s work session, council members received advice from attorneys on their options for overriding Mayor Gray’s vetoes, which took effect last Friday. Some of the items will require a simple up or down vote, but others, such as the restored 10% cut in arts and charitable programs, could be voted on individually, though the council lacks the authority to reduce the amount of the cuts. For now, Lexington Vice Mayor Linda Gorton says council members are remaining relatively tight-lipped about their plans.
The Republican Party of Kentucky's leadership on Thursday hoped to dispel concerns raised by some tea party members and said they don't have plans to delay the state GOP's re-organization from 2012 to 2013. Tea party activist David Adams this week released a statement urging tea party supporters to oppose efforts to delay Republican Party elections of local and state officers by a year. Adams said the delay would keep tea party supporters out of the GOP leadership until after the presidential election.
Kentucky’s Republican senators are joining forces with the rest of their conference and are planning to force a vote on a balanced budget amendment. Freshman Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says the nation’s more than fourteen trillion dollars in debt poses more of a risk to the U-S than terrorists.
Today on the US Senate floor, a lawmaker accused Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell of hypocrisy. As WEKU’s Matt Laslo reports, the Senate Minority leader was accused of giving special tax treatment to the thoroughbred industry.
Friends and family of Amanda Ross expressed relief Tuesday that in pleading guilty to Ross's murder, former lawmaker Steve Nunn had taken responsibility for his actions and spared everyone a long and painful trial. "I hope this will bring some peace to Amanda's mother and family," said Terry McBrayer, a Frankfort lobbyist and a friend of the Ross family. "At best, the trial would have been long and sordid. This might be the first day to start healing."
The debate over raising the nation’s debt ceiling continues to dominate discussions on Capitol Hill. And, as WEKU’s Matt Laslo reports from Washington DC, the Kentucky congressional delegation isn’t too keen on raising the nation’s borrowing limit unless serious spending cuts are included.
Calling the report a “whitewash”, the campaign manager for independent gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith believes the audit of the Kentucky Retirement Systems leaves more questions unanswered. On Tuesday, State Auditor Crit Luallen found no evidence of wrongdoing in the retirement agency, but did raise concerns about the use of placement agents, who act as middlemen to secure investments from entities like the KRS. The report found New York placement agent Glen Sergeon had “an unusually close working relationship” with former KRS chief investment officer Adam Tosh, who resigned last summer.
For the 131st annual Fancy Farm picnic, organizers have plucked longtime Democratic Marshall County Judge Executive Mike Millerto host the event, which marks the unofficial start of the Kentucky general election this fall. The Graves County sideshow is scheduled for August 6 and is expected to be heavily attended due to the 2011 gubernatorial race between Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear and Republican challenger David Williams, but candidates in other statewide races have also been invited.
The Democratic candidate for Agriculture Commissioner in November’s election, Bob Farmer, should not expect any open arms if he comes to Harlan County, according to Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop, following the controversy that has caused several elected top Democratic officials in eastern Kentucky to declare Farmer unwelcome in their county.
Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville is among a bi-partisan group of House lawmakers who signed a letter to President Obama urging him to begin a “significant and sizable” reduction in U.S. forces in Afganistan starting next month. The president will detail his troop drawdown plan in an address to the nation tonight. Defense officials have said that Mr. Obama plans to call for an initial withdrawal of 5,000 troops, followed by 5,000 more by the end of the year.
Manchester voters approved package alcohol sales in the city in a special election Tuesday. The measure passed by a margin of 381 votes to 249, according to County Clerk Michael Baker. Turnout for the controversial measure was about 42 percent — 630 of 1,495 eligible voters went to the polls.
The Harlan Tourist & Convention Commission on Tuesday approved new guidelines and rental contracts for catered events at the Harlan Center. Earlier this month, the Harlan Center became the first establishment licensed to serve alcohol by the drink in the city.
Candidates in the 2011 Kentucky gubernatorial race all agree religion shouldn’t play a role in the campaign, but that doesn’t mean former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson’s Jewish heritage won’t be an issue in rural parts of the commonwealth. With Kentucky’s Jewish population less than one percent, anti-Semitic sentiments in the state have been whispered behind the scenes as a potential handicap for the lieutenant governor candidate, who is running with Democratic Governor Steve Beshear in the fall election.