Congressman John Yarmuth

Politics
8:30 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Congress Should Impose Ethical Rules on Supreme Court, Says John Yarmuth

Credit File photo

Kentucky Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth wants the U.S. Supreme Court to abide by a set of ethical guidelines similar to other federal judges.

Yarmuth is co-sponsoring the Supreme Court Ethics Act of 2013, which would require the High Court to adopt a code of conduct.

"Federal judges are appointed for life. If you have ethical lapses or conflicts of interest as a legislator the voters vote you out. There is no accountability for justices and it seems to me with just on general principles but also in light of some recent, questionable activities by some of the justices this would be something that is very, very important," says Yarmuth.

Democrats pushing the measure point to the political activity of conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia as reason to have the rules. Both Thomas and Scalia attended a Koch Industries fundraiser three years ago and a dinner fundraiser event for the Federalist Society in 2011.

The measure strikes not only a partisan political cord—no Republicans have co-sponsored the bill—but a possible legal questions regarding the separation of powers.

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Politics
3:58 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

John Yarmuth: Florida Democrat Should Apologize for Likening Tea Party to KKK

John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

Appearing on MSNBC Wednesday, Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth says fellow Democrat Alan Grayson of Florida should apologize for likening the Tea Party movement to the Klu Klux Klan.

"I've learned a couple of things in my life in Congress," Yarmuth said. "One is you never talk the Klu Klux Klan, you never talk about Nazis or Hitler and you never talk about slavery. So I think that was a mistake on Alan's part." 

Watch:

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Politics
11:55 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Louisville Physician Says Obamacare is Chief Reason for Challenging Rep. John Yarmuth

Dr. Michael Macfarlane
Credit http://www.macfarlane2014.com

Calling Obamacare the wrong solution for the country, Republican Michael Macfarlane is running for Kentucky's Third Congressional District seat against Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth in next year's election.

A urological surgeon by trade, the 60-year-old Macfarlane has been a Louisville resident for over two decades and previously worked at Jewish Hospital, Norton Healthcare and Baptist East.

In 2007, Macfarlane was voted "Top Surgeon" in Louisville Magazine.

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Politics
3:50 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Kentucky Congressmen Reticent on McConnell-Reid Deal as Moderates Take Lead on Shutdown, Default

Senators Mitch McConnell (l) and Harry Reid (r)

Kentucky Congressmen John Yarmuth and Hal Rogers support Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's plan to reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling, but the rest of Kentucky's federal delegation are withholding judgment until huddling with GOP House leaders.

The deal struck with Democratic Leader Harry Reid appears to have bipartisan support in the Senate, but could face an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled House.

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Politics
5:43 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Admonishes Senator Rand Paul for Debt Ceiling Comments

Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., (l) and Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., (r)
Credit Phillip Bailey / WFPL News

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth is scolding fellow Kentuckian and Republican Senator Rand Paul for downplaying the significance of default if the U.S. government doesn't raise the debt ceiling.

The borrowing limit is currently set at $16.7 trillion for things such as publicly traded bonds and Social Security payments.

Most experts on the matter say the U.S. won't be able to pay off those loans after the Oct. 17 deadline and could run out of money by the end of the month unless Congress raises the ceiling.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Politics
7:33 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Lone Kentucky Lawmaker to Vote Against $40 Billion in Food Stamp Cuts

Credit File photo

In a close vote, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a Republican-backed plan to cut food stamps by $40 billion over the next decade, which supporters say will bring sustainability to the program while saving the taxpayer's money.

Lawmakers approved the proposal by a 217-210 vote on Thursday with 15 GOP members joining the entire Democratic caucus who voted against the bill.

The cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are nearly double as much as an earlier measure rejected by the House in June.

But supporters of the assistance program argue this could have a disproportionate impact on poorer states like Kentucky, where one out of six households report facing serious problems affording nutritious food.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food stamps benefits go to around 820,000 Kentuckians per month. In the final tally, all but one of Kentucky's six representatives voted for the cuts.

"Today’s House vote to strip nearly $40 billion from federal food assistance programs directly threatens the health and financial security of the more than 44,000 Louisville families who depend on these programs to put food on their tables," says Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth, who voted against the bill. "These cuts would also needlessly weaken our economy, as every $5 spent on food assistance generates $9 in local economic activity."

But GOP lawmakers who favored the proposal drafted by Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, highlight the rise of food stamp recipients in the past five years as a need to bring solvency to the program. The argue it simply restores eligibility limits to their original levels, and maintains funding for food assistance in other areas.

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Politics
7:01 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Assigned to Influential Energy and Commerce Committee

Credit U.S. Congress

Kentucky Third District Congressman John Yarmuth is joining the influential House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which puts the Democratic lawmaker in the middle of key debates including implementing President Obama's health care law.

Yarmuth voted for Obamacare, and has been its lone defender in Kentucky's federal delegation, often serving fact-checker to his congressional colleagues.

He will join congressmen Ed Whitfield and Brett Guthrie, who are both Republicans.

The panel also has jurisdiction over environmental, energy, cyber-security and consumer protection policy.

The congressman's office points out manufacturing is also under the committee's purview, which is important to the Louisville economy.

In 2009, Ford Motor Company received a $5.9 billion loan through the federal Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program, which supports the development of energy-efficient vehicles.

That allowed the company to invest $600 million to retool the assembly plant in Louisville, which has added more than 3,000 jobs recently.

"Good jobs and financial security are cornerstones of a strong society, and as a new member of the Committee, I look forward to being at the forefront of policy debates that are so critical to the future of our country," Yarmuth said.

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