Noise & Notes

On air Saturdays at 10pm.

On Noise & Notes, WFPL's Phillip M. Bailey doesn't just discuss the issues, he dissects them. From city government to national politics, Phillip has covered it all. 

Pages

Politics
9:59 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Mitch McConnell: 'Americans Don't Want a Government Shutdown and They Don't Want Obamacare'

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Senate

Hours away from a government shutdown, the Democratic-controlled Senate once again rejected a House Republican spending plan that seeks to delay the president's health care law.

The party line 54-46 vote continues the back-and-forth between the two chambers with less than three hours before the midnight deadline.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky also repeated his statement blaming Senate Democrats as a partial shutdown appeared inevitable.

From McConnell's office:

"Americans don’t want a government shutdown and they don’t want Obamacare. But Senate Democrats have once again blocked a House-passed bill to keep the government open while protecting Americans from the consequences of Obamacare.

The fact that the President is unilaterally granting waivers to some Americans but not others shows that even he doesn’t think Obamacare is ready for primetime. There is bipartisan support for providing the same treatment to individuals and families that the White House has already given employers.

Read more
Politics
7:10 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Acknowledging GOP Will Be Blamed, Congressman Thomas Massie Describes Shutdown as 'Not a Big Deal'

Congressman Thomas Massie, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Congress

Rep.Thomas Massie acknowledges Republicans will face the brunt of the blame if the government shuts down at midnight.

But the freshman lawmaker from Kentucky's Fourth District says constituents have told him it is "not a big deal" if certain federal agencies and functions close.

"I’m certain we'll get blamed for it," Massie told WFPL this afternoon. "But that’s also (Senate Democratic Leader) Harry Reid’s motive for running out the clock today. And they’re hoping there is a shutdown for their own political gain."

On Monday afternoon, the Senate once again rejected a House spending bill backed by Republicans, which sought to delay Obamacare by one year and repeal the medical device tax.

This was slightly different measure than an earlier GOP pitch to take out funding for the Affordable Care Act altogether.

Democrats have made it clear any efforts to undermine the health care law are a non-starter, however.

Polling figures show 46 percent of Americans would blame congressional Republicans if a shutdown takes place. The same survey finds 36 percent believe the Democrats and president would be responsible.

The political backlash isn't lost on a group of moderate House Republicans who are reportedly planning a revolt against GOP leadership and more conservative members.

Massie is part of a group in the House members who spoke with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas who strategized to oppose House Speaker John Boehner's plan. Asked about the impact on Kentucky, he told WFPL a partial shutdown will have limited real world effects.

Read more
Politics
12:36 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Says Mitch McConnell is 'Missing in Action' on Shutdown Negotiations

Alison Lundergan Grimes

Calling the looming government shutdown a "reckless Republican" strategy, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is accusing incumbent U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., of watching from the sidelines.

The budget impasse in Washington is expected to continue when the Democratic-controlled Senate rejects a House measure this afternoon.

If a deal isn't reached the federal government will close on Tuesday at 12:01 a.m.

At issue is implementation of President Obama's health care law, which Republican want to delay for one year. But that is considered a non-starter in the Senate and for the Obama administration.

In the meantime, the Grimes campaign is going on the offensive against McConnell by highlighting how a shutdown would impact Kentucky.

The news release points out a shutdown would close centers for 16,000 children who attend Head Start, delay payments for U.S. military service members and furlough 25,000 federal employees in the state.

Grimes says McConnell needs to be more involved in the negotiations while reminding supporters about the GOP leadership's split with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Read more
Politics
7:01 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Taking Myth-Buster Lead Ahead of Obamacare Implementation

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is scheduled to launch its open enrollment for individuals without health insurance beginning on Oct. 1.

And Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth is taking the lead on debunking what the Democratic lawmaker calls myths and "scare tactics" about its implementation.

In Kentucky, one in six people are uninsured and officials hope as the law unfolds that residents will take advantage of the state-approved insurance plans.

One of the chief changes under the new federal mandate is no one can be denied health care coverage for any reason, including pre-existing conditions.

But three years after it passed, Obamacare remains the source of continued bickering in Washington and the root of a possible government shutdown.

"A lot of this is partisan and anti-Obama sentiment because we know that people support the various provisions of the Affordable Care Act by substantial margins," says Yarmuth, who voted for the law in 2010.

A recent poll conducted by CNBC bears out what the congressman is saying. The survey found 46 percent of Americans oppose the law when it carries the president’s name. But just 37 percent said they oppose the law when it is called the Affordable Care Act.

In states like Kentucky—where Obama is immensely unpopular—that has resulted in considerable confusion about the law as state officials are encouraging people to sign-up.

Read more
Politics
2:40 pm
Sun September 29, 2013

Senator Mitch McConnell Praises House 'Compromise' Bill as Shutdown Appears Imminent

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Credit File photo

With less than 36-hours until a shutdown, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says a late night vote by the House has presented Democrats with a way to keep the federal government running.

The new proposal is being pitched by Republican leaders as a compromise, but it still links financing the government to the president's health care law.

Shortly after midnight, the GOP-controlled House passed a bill to keep funding the government through December 15.

The measure also delays the Affordable Care Act by one year and repeals a tax on medical devices in the law, which is considered a non-starter in the Democratic-controlled Senate and in the face of President Obama's veto pen.

McConnell says the House has put the ball in the Senate's court and the American people do not want a shutdown, but don't want Obamacare either.

From McConnell's office:

"While some in the Senate Democrat leadership may think employers should get preferential treatment over individuals and families, and that repealing Obamacare's medical device tax is 'stupid,' many other Democrats have made it clear they disagree. They should be allowed to vote to protect the thousands of good American jobs the medical device tax threatens to destroy and to give the same treatment to individuals and families that the White House has already given employers. The choice for Democrat leaders is clear: either shut down the government, or listen to the American people and act."

Democrats have poked holes in this latest move, however, calling it "smoke in mirrors" given that it once again puts funding for the president's health care law.

As observers have noted, with Obamacare's implementation set to roll out on Oct. 1 it is unlikely the president will gut his signature achievement.

Read more
Politics
12:24 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

In New York Times Op-Ed, Governor Steve Beshear Says Kentucky Needs Obamacare

Democratic Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky
Credit Kentucky Governor's Office

In a robust defense of Obamacare, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says the state's health care needs come before the divisive partisan politics to defund the law in Washington.

The op-ed in The New York Times on Friday continues Beshear's arguments in favor of the law, which is set to be implemented beginning Oct. 1.

In Kentucky, nearly one in six are uninsured and the state ranks at the bottom of nearly every major health measure.

Read more
Politics
8:45 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Louisville Metro Council Shrinks KFC Yum Center's Taxing District

KFC Yum Center
Credit File photo

In a unanimous vote, the Louisville Metro Council approved a measure reducing the size of the tax increment financing district surrounding the KFC Yum Center from six square miles to two square miles.

Council members hope this change will develop better revenue projections for the arena to help pay down its debt.

Since February, city officials have been discussing new ways to deal with financial woes at the downtown arena.

The TIF district is made up of property, occupational and sales tax revenue that goes towards the Louisville Arena Authority to help retire the $349 million in construction bonds.

But the taxing-district has fallen far below its expected projections putting a heavier burden on the city—and Louisville taxpayers—to cover more of the costs.

"Reducing the TIF area allows the TIF revenues to directly reflect the success of the arena and eliminates changes in business activities unrelated to the arena," says Council President Jim King, D-10, who sponsored the bill. "This approach is more realistic and gives the city a better monetary outcome in the future. It also taps into promised state tax revenues."

Read more
Politics
6:12 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Pressured Over New Sexual Harassment Claims in Kentucky Legislature

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit Creative Commons

Saying Alison Lundergan Grimes needs to prove her commitment to women, the chair of the Republican Party of Kentucky is challenging the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate to join a call to investigate new sexual harassment allegations in the state legislature.

As The Courier-Journal's Joe Gerth reports, Democratic state Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, is asking for a probe to examine the decision-making by Democratic House leadership.

At issue is House Speaker Greg Stumbo's office ordering the transfer of a female staffer who complained about the behavior of a Democratic lawmaker.

From The C-J:

Legislative Research Commission employee Nicole Cusic said that after she complained to state Rep. Will Coursey, D-Symsonia, about his behavior in 2012 — she alleges he tried to date interns and made inappropriate statements about another staff member — LRC officials moved her out of a suite of offices where Coursey worked to a temporary desk.

Coursey has denied the allegations, but Stein told the newspaper there is "a bad smell, a noxious smell" in the House and a need to regain the public's trust.

In response, the state GOP is pressuring Grimes—who has continually criticized Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell's voting record on women's issues—to speak up.

Read more
Politics
4:25 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Dwindling Tea Party Support Among GOP May Impact Matt Bevin's Insurgency

Credit Tim Pierce/Creative Commons

A new poll finds fewer Americans support the Tea Party movement and the noticeable dip among Republican voters could impact Kentucky’s U.S. Senate GOP primary race.

According to a Gallup survey conducted earlier this month, opponents of the Tea Party outnumber supporters by a 27 percent to 22 percent.

Most are indifferent to the movement, but the poll shows the Tea Party's favorable rating among GOP voters is 38 percent compared to 65 percent in 2010.

Those numbers could put a damper on Louisville businessman Matt Bevin's primary hopes as he seeks to overthrow incumbent Mitch McConnell with heavy Tea Party support in the state.

Observers say the low approval numbers are a sign the Tea Party is being blamed for the gridlock in Washington in the face of a possible government shutdown.

"It's so much easier to rail against the establishment, people like that when you show enthusiasm and energy," says University of Louisville political science professor Dewey Clayton. "But once you become the establishment and you actually have to govern things change somewhat. One of the reasons the Tea Party is falling out of favor with many Americans is because people are seeing them as part of problem in Washington now."

Clayton says it's hard to compare Bevin's 2014 bid to Rand Paul's insurgency GOP primary candidacy for a number of reasons, but says the Tea Party doesn't appear to have the same strength it did in 2010.

Read more
Politics
7:30 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Trivial Attacks Mark Kentucky's U.S. Senate Race

Credit File photos

When it comes to the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Kentucky, there appears to be no attack that the top campaigns and their operatives won't engage or levy at each other.

The Republican primary contest between incumbent Mitch McConnell and challenger Matt Bevin has been particularly bitter.

At the outset, McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton referred to Bevin as a "con man" who couldn't be trusted. 

Despite efforts to urge the media to ignore Bevin, Team Mitch rarely passes up a chance to take a swipe at their primary opponent. For instance, the McConnell campaign was recently touting this rather embarrassing moment for Bevin at a Constitution Day event in Kentucky.

Watch:

Speaking at a rally in downtown Louisville, Bevin ripped Benton for saying it was "irrelevant" that McConnell didn't join Ted Cruz's marathon speech on the Senate floor.

Here's what Benton told talk radio host Joe Elliott:

A passing remark? Not according to the Bevin campaign.

Read more

Pages