Congressman John Yarmuth

Politics
8:00 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth: Alison Lundergan Grimes Must ‘Immediately Decide’ on Senate Bid

Ky. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky.

Kentucky's lone Democratic congressman says he is confident the party will find an opponent to defeat Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, but adds Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes needs to make a decision.

The GOP is beginning to gloat that Democrats cannot find a suitable challenger willing to take on McConnell next year.

Grimes is considered the top contender in the field and she met with Governor Steve Beshear last week to discuss the race. But Grimes was still "wrestling" with the idea of running for Senate after sitting down with the governor.

Observers are beginning to question if the race is beyond Democrat's reach despite McConnell's unpopularity. The GOP leader has a $13.5 million head start and the political rumor mill is beginning to move on to former Miss America Heather French Henry, who is now reportedly being encouraged to run.

In an exclusive WFPL interview, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth says Grimes needs to let whatever those plans are known before the summer or risk hurting the party.

"I do think that it is important that Alison Grimes immediately decide whether she’s running or not because there are a number of people sitting on the sidelines who would be interested I think in making a race who are waiting to find out what she does. And for her to keep prolonging this as she said possibly until the late summer I think is a disservice to the party," he says.

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Politics
4:27 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Troubled by White House's String of Controversies

Congressman John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth says the Internal Revenue Service should examine the tax-exempt status of non-profit groups, but the agency failed to apply the policy evenly.

The IRS has been scolded over flagging conservative organizations with "tea party" and "patriot" in their name.

Reports found that at least 300 such groups were put into a "bucket " that received extra scrutiny, which held up applications for months.

Agency leaders have blamed the additional views on two "rogue" employees in their Cincinnati offices.

Yarmuth says the IRS scandal undermines good government and cannot be excused, but argues looking at those groups should be a role the agency fulfills.

"That behavior on the part of IRS is totally intolerable and while I actually think the kind of scrutiny that was applied to these groups is appropriate it should be applied to every 501(c)4. The law has to be enforced evenly and fairly, and the IRS has not done that," he says.

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Politics
12:16 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Optimistic on Immigration Reform

John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

Appearing on MSNBC Wednesday, Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., says he is optimistic comprehensive immigration reform will pass in Congress this year despite an undertone of setbacks.

The "gang of eight" in the Senate are trying to gain a super-majority as Democrats and Republicans continue to negotiate. Among the issues being hashed out are provisions dealing with a pathway to citizenship that are linked to tighter enforcement of the U.S. borders.

Recently, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. warned that conservatives would be pulling back from the plan if stricter rules to protect borders are not added to the bill.

But Yarmuth, who is part of a bipartisan "gang of eight" in the House, says lawmakers remains motivated to pass an overhaul of the immigration system due to an unprecedented group of diverse interests.

Watch:

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Politics
12:32 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth's Campaign Downplays Sparse FEC Report

Congressman John Yarmuth

The campaign for Kentucky Third District Congressman John Yarmuth is downplaying low fundraising totals, saying it shouldn’t be viewed as a sign the Democratic representative isn’t running for re-election.

Federal Election Commission records show Yarmuth raised a mere $5,000 in the first three months of 2013, which is far behind his colleagues in the Kentucky congressional delegation.

According to campaign finance records, the second lowest fundraising total among House members was longtime Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, who raised approximately $59,000 in the first quarter.

The other delegates raised somewhere between $90 to $365,000 during the same period.

Democratic sources who work on political financing tell WFPL Yarmuth's bleak numbers are a "signature of retirement" and observers note that is alarming low given how expensive House races can be.

"It is unusual there is no doubt about it," says University of Louisville political science professor Dewey Clayton. "And so to see a candidate who is an incumbent who has all the advantages, which usually means high name recognition that leads to the ability to raise funds."

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Politics
11:55 am
Mon April 22, 2013

In Wake of Boston Bombings, Senator Rand Paul Wants to Delay Immigration Reform

Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Senate

In a letter to the Senate majority leader, Republican Rand Paul says national security questions surrounding the Boston bombings need to be addressed before Congress deals with comprehensive immigration reform. 

The terror attacks at the Boston Marathon last week were allegedly perpetrated by the Tsarnaev brothers, who are ethnic Chechens and immigrated to the U.S. a decade ago.

For some that is reason to be cautious on who the country is allowing in as lawmakers deliberate overhauling the immigration system. Others argue conservatives are only seizing on their ethnicity of the accused bombers to stoke nativist fears and derail reforms.

Paul is urging Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to incorporate various national security concerns first and is openly asking if systemic failures allowed the two men to enter the U.S. without further background checks.

From Paul's office:

The facts emerging in the Boston Marathon bombing have exposed a weakness in our current system. If we don't use this debate as an opportunity to fix flaws in our current system, flaws made even more evident last week, then we will not be doing our jobs.

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Politics
3:17 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Urges Senate to Pass Gun Background Checks

Speaking on the House floor Wednesday, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth encouraged the Senate to pass legislation creating stricter background checks before purchasing a gun.

Yarmuth cited a constituent's letter in The Courier-Journal that criticized lawmakers for being beholden to the National Rifle Association over common sense gun laws. Poll numbers did indicate a large number of Americans backed tighter gun restrictions, but as NPR reported last month those figures began to wane to pre-Newtown levels in recent weeks.

But Yarmuth says the Senate needs to listen to the "vast majority" of Americans and Kentuckians and pass background checks for gun purchasers.

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Politics
10:28 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Joins Bipartisan Group Favoring Immigration Reform

Congressman John Yarmuth and Senator Rand Paul
Credit Phillip Bailey / WFPL News

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth is joining a bipartisan group of eight House members who are voicing support for fixing the country's immigration system.

Efforts for comprehensive reform in the Senate was backed by President Obama this week after a group of eight senators reached an agreement and unveiled their legislative package.

Among the notable compromises in the measure is giving the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants a pathway to U.S. citizenship, but only after stricter border security standards are made. The legislation would also crack down on American employers who hire illegal immigrants.

The statement from Yarmuth's office says lawmakers in the House are also working on drafting a similar bill with Democratic and Republican support.

From Yarmuth's office:

"Americans want to see the nation’s broken immigration system fixed, and they know it will take bipartisanship to solve this problem in a sensible and rational way. This week, a bipartisan group of Senators stepped forward to introduce their proposal, and we applaud their effort.

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Politics
2:59 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

John Yarmuth Donates Congressional Salary to Local Charities

Congressman John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

For the sixth consecutive year, Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, Ky-3, is giving away his entire congressional salary to almost two dozen non-profit groups in Louisville.

Since taking office, Yarmuth has donated nearly $750,000 to local charities since an initial 2006 campaign pledge to do so. This year's salary is being distributed at various amount among 21 different organizations including the Louisville NAACP, Metro United Way and the Louisville Zoo.

"These remarkable organizations, their staffs and volunteers enrich the Louisville community, and I am fortunate to be in a position to offer some assistance," Yarmuth said in a news release. "With drastic cuts to federal funding for essential community services, it is more critical than ever to do what we can to support the organizations that provide so much for Louisville."

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Politics
11:37 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Yarmuth, Michigan Counterpart Bet Bourbon, Chicken on NCAA Championship Game

John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth and his counterpart from Michigan have wagered bourbon, beer, fried chicken and a deli lunch on the winner of the NCAA national title game between the University of Michigan and the University of Louisville.

Yarmuth (D-Ky.) put up a bottle of Woodford Reserve bourbon and a bucket of KFC against a wager by U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) of Ann Arbor's Arbor Brewing Company beer and lunch from Zingerman's Deli, a Michigan institution.

The Wolverines and Cardinals face off Monday night in Atlanta, with the winner being crowned national champion.

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Politics
5:22 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Ashley Judd Says on Twitter That She's Not Running for U.S. Senate

Ashley Judd
Credit U.S. Navy

Actress Ashley Judd is not running for U.S. Senate in Kentucky next year

The actress writes via Twitter:

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