Politics

Politics
3:59 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Democrat Joe Donnelly Hopes to Forge 'New Middle' in Senate

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-In.,

Incoming U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-In., is hoping to launch a new coalition of moderate lawmakers in the 113th Congress.

Donnelly is among a number of new senators sworn-in Thursday, and he steps into the seat previously held by longtime Sen. Dick Lugar.

During the 2012 campaign, the former congressman ran as a centrist and on bringing "Hoosier common sense" to an unpopular Congress.

Donnelly says he wants to work with lawmakers from both parties to find solutions because of Indiana's history of bipartisan cooperation.

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Politics
11:19 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Speaker Stumbo Favors Medicaid Expansion in Kentucky

Greg Stumbo
Credit Kentucky Legislative Commission

The Speaker of the Kentucky House says it’s a no-brainer for Kentucky to expand its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. 

Under the health care law, states can expanded their Medicaid rolls to 138 percent of the poverty line and for three years, the federal government will pay for the expansion.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has yet to decide on whether Kentucky will expand, saying he will calculating costs after 2017, when the feds pay only 90 percent of expansion.

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Politics
9:00 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Kentucky Tea Party Leaders Upset With Mitch McConnell's Fiscal Cliff Deal

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit U.S. Senate

Kentucky Tea Party leaders are voicing frustration with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell over his role in forging a bill that averted the fiscal cliff, and are encouraging a primary challenge in his re-election bid.

In the final days of negotiations, McConnell worked closely with Vice President Joe Biden to fashion an agreement that passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support. The Biden-McConnell bill extended the Bush-era tax cuts permanently for individuals making less than $400,000, but it delayed government spending cuts for another two months. 

Louisville Tea Party President Sarah Durand says rank and file members  were already displeased with McConnell’s record on fiscal issues, and are furious over the latest development.

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Politics
11:58 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Yarmuth Hopes for New Coalition in 113th Congress

Congressman John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., is hopeful that new lawmakers being sworn in this week create a new coalition to pass meaningful legislation.

Public records show the outgoing 112th Congress was the least active in modern history with just 219 bills passed. And the latest poll numbers put their approval rating at a dismal 12 percent.

The members of 113th Congress take office Thursday, and although Republicans still control the House with a lesser majority and Democrats picked up seats in the Senate, political observers are eager to see if cooperation is possible.

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Politics
3:09 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Mitch McConnell on Fiscal Cliff: 'We Are Very, Very Close'

Credit U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he and the White House have agreed on preventing tax hikes that the "fiscal cliff" will trigger after midnight. And he says they are very close to an overall deal that would also prevent budget-wide spending cuts.

The Kentucky Republican did not provide any details. But he said on the Senate floor that lawmakers should pass legislation averting tax increases that would otherwise take effect at the start of New Year's Day.

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Politics
2:56 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Yarmuth Credits McConnell's Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

Credit U.S. Congress

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth  says if a deal is reached to prevent hitting the so-called "fiscal cliff," Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell should get some of the credit.

“I certainly appreciate the work he’s doing and it sounds to me like he’s taking the kind of reasonable approach to compromise that we all have been crying out for, for months," Yarmuth told WFPL.

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Politics
1:54 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Mayor Greg Fischer: City to Create 'Uniform Policy' Concerning Dismas Workers

Mayor Fischer speaking Monday with WFPL's Phillip M. Bailey.
Credit Gabe Bullard/WFPL

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says the city is working to correct problems with using inmates from Dismas Charities’ halfway houses.

Earlier this month, an internal audit showed there was no written contract for using ex-convicts for volunteer in various city departments. The report said the lack of a signed agreement puts the city at risk, and also found that inmates were not consistently signing in at their work assignments and aren't being properly monitored by supervisors.

Fischer says the partnership with Dismas is a worthy cause that helps rehabilitate inmates, and a corrective action plan is in the works.

"Remember, these folks are in halfway houses and they’re re-integrating into society as well. So that’s part of the issue. But from my perspective what we need is a uniform policy from the city and that’s what you’ll be seeing," he says.

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Politics
12:31 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Sources: 'Fiscal Cliff' Deal Emerging

Capitol Hill
Credit Creative Commons

WASHINGTON — The contours of a deal to avert the 'fiscal cliff' are emerging that would raise tax rates on couples making over $450,000 a year, raise the estate tax rate and extend unemployment benefits for one year.

That's according to officials familiar with the negotiations.

The deal in the works would return tax rates on families making over $450,000 to 39.6 percent. The tax on estates worth more than $5 million would increase to 40 percent. And unemployment benefits would continue for one year.

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Politics
8:00 am
Mon December 31, 2012

Indiana Lawmakers May Take Up Gay Marriage Amendment in 2013

When it convenes next week, the Indiana General Assembly could take the next step toward amending the state Constitution to ban gay marriage.

An amendment defining marriage as being the union of a man and a woman that would also prohibit civil unions between same-sex couples passed the 2011 legislature, but must also be approved this year or next in order for it to be presented to Indiana voters.

Indiana already has a state law banning gay marriage but amendment supporters say it needs to be codified by voters to make it more difficult for the courts to overturn.

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Politics
12:01 pm
Sun December 30, 2012

Legislators Unlikely to Put State Health Exchange into Law

Audrey Haynes
Credit Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Gov. Steve Beshear will likely have to re-issue his executive order to keep the state’s health exchange running. 

Beshear started the exchange — part of the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare — earlier this year through an executive order and state health officials have forged ahead with its creation.

But unless the Kentucky General Assembly takes up the issue to puts it into law, it's likely Beshear’s original order will have to be re-issued to keep work on the exchange moving forward.

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