Congressman John Yarmuth

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.

Read more
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.

Read more
Politics
10:44 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Kentucky Lawmakers Respond to President Obama's National Address on Syria

Rand Paul

Kentucky lawmakers in Washington are reacting to President Obama's national address where he said he was asking Congress to postpone a vote on authorizing military strikes against Syria as the U.S. pursues diplomatic solutions.

Since the president first said he was seeking congressional approval for a limited attack on the Assad regime, members of the state's federal delegation have voiced either opposition or skepticism to the plan.

Poll numbers show the vast majority of Americans oppose U.S. intervention.

The president acknowledged the public's war weariness but outlined his rationale for why he believes the U.S. should get involved. At least one lawmaker was pleased with Obama's primetime address for clearing a path to diplomacy.

From Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth:

"It is in our national interest to delay a vote on military action against the Syrian government while we pursue diplomatic opportunities to force the Assad regime to surrender its chemical weapons. I strongly support this approach and, like all Americans, will continue to monitor these developments as the international community re-evaluates its responsibilities in Syria."

Others remained oppose to the idea of U.S. intervention, even as reports reflect the Russian government is persuading the Syrian government to release their chemical weapon stockpiles to avert U.S. strikes.

Read more
Politics
12:02 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Congressman Hal Rogers Wants 'Precise' Details Before Favoring Syria Strike

Kentucky Fifth District Congressman Hal Rogers

Kentucky's longest serving member of Congress wants more details from President Obama before supporting the administration's resolution seeking military action against the Syrian government.

"The ongoing civil war in Syria is heartbreaking, but I have great reservations about intervening in Syria," says Congressman Hal Rogers, who was first elected in 1980.

Speaking at a news conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, the president announced he will address the nation from the White House next week to make his case for intervention before the American public.

For the most part, Kentucky's federal delegates in the House and Senate are leaning against the mission. 

Congressman John Yarmuth, the lone Democrat, says he remains unconvinced by the Obama administration's argument.

Republican congressmen Andy Barr and Ed Whitfield have both voiced opposition while Brett Guthrie said via Facebook he would "listen carefully" as the administration makes its case.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has been noticeably absent from the debate. But in a recent public appearance, McConnell said he would announce his position in "the coming days."

While Rogers, who chairs the powerful appropriations committee, told WFPL he has serious doubts about the mission, the GOP lawmaker also indicated he is open to being persuaded by Obama's argument.

Read more
Politics
5:01 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Report: One in Six Kentucky Households Cannot Afford Healthy Food

Credit File photo

One in six Kentucky households report having serious problems affording nutritious food, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The report released on Wednesday also reveals basic hunger needs in the state have increased over the past decade even as lawmakers in Washington are proposing to dump millions of food stamp recipients.

Of the approximately 285,000 Kentucky households experiencing food insecurity, about 113,000 had at least one or more members living in the home forced to reduce their food intake. The agriculture department's report shows 15.6 percent lack adequate food choices, a five percent increase since 2003.

Many argue government help such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program combat those hunger issues. But food stamps face a possible $40 billion worth of cuts in Congress, which could eliminate benefits for up to 6 million Americans.

Jason Bailey is director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. He says the cuts are coming at a time when many families are still struggling economically.

"It’s not like they’re also proposing to create 4 to 6 million jobs that these folks can get to provide enough income for them to pay for their food needs. It’s an incredibly cruel and counter-productive proposal at a time when unemployment is still high," he says.

Read more
Politics
5:12 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Unconvinced by Obama Administration's Argument to Attack Syria

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

The Obama administration's case to take military action against Syria after its government allegedly used chemical weapons against civilians has yet to convince Kentucky's lone Democratic congressman to support intervention.

Speaking on a WFPL News special, Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., says the country's international reputation is not enough to launch a strike.

President Obama is seeking congressional authorization before launching strikes against Balshar al-Assad's regime, which is engaged in a two-year long civil war with rebel forces.

The Obama administration is making its case to lawmakers beginning with a presentation before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week.

Over 100 lawmakers attended a confidential briefing with national security experts on Sunday.

Yarmuth was among those lawmakers, and while he believes in the evidence presented by the administration showing the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians, the congressman isn’t convinced the U.S. should get involved.

"The general public probably considers national security interest any direct threat to the United States homeland, embassies, troops or property. The administration has a much vaguer I would say definition of national security interest, and they’re talking about the security of our allies and certain esoteric interests that I don’t think most Americans would agree is our national security interest," says Yarmuth.

Yarmuth says he is also concerned because the U.S. is acting alone without many allies who are willing to join the fight against Syria.

Read more
Politics
4:40 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

Kentucky Lawmakers React to President Obama Seeking Military Action Against Syria

President Barack Obama is seeking congressional approval for air strikes against Syria
Credit White House

Most Kentucky federal lawmakers are praising President Obama's decision to seek congressional authorization before taking military action against Syria, which the administration says has used chemical weapons against civilians and rebel forces.

Obama says the administration has intelligence that the Syrian regime claimed the lives of 1,429 people with chemical attacks, and that a limited and tailored air strike is necessary.

Speaking from the Rose Garden, Obama said he reached out to leaders in Congress including Senate Minority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, who had requested a conference call with the White House to brief senators on Saturday.

From McConnell's office:

"Today the President advised me that he will seek an authorization for the use of force from the Congress prior to initiating any combat operations against Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons. The President’s role as commander-in-chief is always strengthened when he enjoys the expressed support of the Congress."

Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., who is often a supporter of the president's agenda, urged the Obama administration to outline its case for bombing Syria, and advised they seek approval from lawmakers.

Read more
Politics
8:30 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Democrat John Yarmuth Condemns GOP Congressman Calling Young Immigrants Drug Smugglers

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Congress

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth is condemning comments by Republican Steve King, who said the majority of undocumented immigrants's children are drug runners.

But Kentucky's Third District representative says those remarks don't reflect the views of most GOP lawmakers and shouldn't impede bipartisan efforts to overhaul the U.S. immigration system.

Almost two weeks ago King told Newsmax that for every immigrant child who is a valedictorian there are 100 hauling illegal drugs across the U.S.-Mexicon border.

The Iowa congressman hasn't backpedaled either, adding that many who are smuggling narcotics fit the qualifications under DREAM Act as defined in the Senate immigration reform bill.

"I’d love to see him resign," says Yarmuth. "If he would take my suggestion I’d say resign. What he said was clearly way out of bounds and in horrible taste, and just reprehensibly ignorant."

Yarmuth is a member of the so-called Gang of 7 working on a comprehensive measure in the House. He says most Republican don't take King seriously, and reject his views.

House Speaker John Boehner did rebuke King's comments, calling them "wrong" and "hateful." And other conservatives in the GOP-controlled House such as Congressman Raul Labrador of Idaho said they were "irresponsible and reprehensible."

Read more
Politics
8:00 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Calls for More Accountablity at NSA

Despite objections from the Obama administration, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth joined a bipartisan effort to limit the Nation Security Agency's ability to gather Americans telephone records.

The House ultimately rejected the amendment co-sponsored by Republican Justin Amash and Democrat John Conyers in a 205-217 vote, but this could be just the beginning of legislative attempts to curtail the intelligence agency.

Since agency contract employee Edward Snowden leaked details of a massive data collection program, the NSA has been criticized by libertarian-leaning conservatives and liberals for some time.

Appearing on MSNBC, Yarmuth says he isn't pleased with how the information came to light, but says there is considerable concern among lawmakers regarding privacy rights.

Watch:

Read more
Politics
8:13 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Congressional Report Shows Obamacare Benefits to Kentucky Districts

Credit Shutterstock.com

The House voted on Wednesday to delay two key components of President Obama's health care law after the White House announced it was postponing an important mandate.

This represents the thirty-eighth time the Republican majority has moved to either repeal, de-fund or curtail the Affordable Care Act since taking control of the House in 2011.

In a bipartisan 264-161 vote, Congress codifies a decision made by the Obama administration earlier this month to give companies a one-year reprieve. But the GOP leadership took that a step further and held a vote to postpone the individual mandate, which passed by a 251-174 vote.

"From the very beginning it was clear that this one-size-fits-all law was the wrong approach to addressing our nation’s health care woes.  I still believe that repeal of this devastating law is needed, but until then we need to ensure that American families aren’t punished while the administration gives big businesses a break," says Congressman Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., adding the law is a "train wreck."

Obamcare certainly remains a political punching bag for Republican congressmen and senators in Kentucky, but Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth, who represents Louisville and voted for the law, continues to speak up for its benefits since passage.

Yarmuth's office released data on Wednesday from the House Energy & Commerce Committee showing a district-by-district breakdown what the law is doing in Kentucky.

Read more

Pages