Congressman John Yarmuth

Politics
12:14 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Study: Immigration Reform Would Boost Kentucky Revenues By $23 Million

A study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates Kentucky stands to gain $23.2 million in increased revenue should Congress pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

The 50-state analysis assumes that a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country will be included in any legislative package.

That would add around 80,000 new Kentuckians who would fully participate in the state and local tax systems.

According to the study, those immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally are already paying $10.6 billion a year in state and local taxes nationwide, which is $58.8 million in Kentucky.

Supporters of immigration reform argue the added revenue demonstrates creating legal channels for the undocumented helps immigrant and native households, especially in poorer states.

"Some people would be surprised by how much undocumented immigrants already pay in taxes, including sales, property and income. But immigration reform would increase those contributions especially with income tax by creating a legal path for full compliance," says Anna Baumann, a research associate with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, a non-partisan group that studies economic issues in the state.

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Politics
12:22 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Kentucky, Indiana Lawmakers Pleased But Remain Critical of Obamacare Employer Mandate Delay

Credit Shutterstock.com

Federal lawmakers from Kentucky and Indiana are pleased with the Obama administration's decision to delay the employer mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, but Republicans argue this shows the overhaul should be repealed.

Under the law, U.S. businesses with over 50 employees must provide health insurance to their workers and was widely criticized by companies and GOP lawmakers. The mandate was scheduled to begin in 2014, but a post from the White House blog said after ongoing discussions with businesses, it will be implemented on January 1, 2015 instead.

Senators Mitch McConnell, R-Ky,, who has been a constant critic of the law, and Dan Coats, R-In., both issued statements jeering the White House's announcement as a sign the president's health care law is too costly.

Political observers quickly pointed to the decision being pushed back until after next year's mid-term elections, where it was expected to be a theme to help turnout GOP voters.

Republican Andy Barr is a freshman congressman who represents central Kentucky and ran heavily against the health care law in 2012. He says the announcement is an important temporary relief, but an acknowledgement that the Affordable Care Act— also known as Obamacare—is a "train wreck" overall.

"This a good decision for American employers and employees who are facing very costly mandates. And so while this is an important step forward we need to continue to fight to fully repeal Obamacare so that it doesn't continue to have the threat of  killing jobs," he says.

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Politics
8:00 am
Mon July 1, 2013

House Immigration Bill Coming Early Next Week, Congressman John Yarmuth Says

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

Kentucky  Congressman John Yarmuth says a comprehensive immigration reform bill will be introduced in the House early next week.

The Democratic-controlled Senate version of the bill passed by a comfortable bipartisan margin last Thursday after months of debate.

But Speaker John Boehner has made it clear the Senate version means nothing to the Republican-controlled House, where many lawmakers have described the pathway to citizenship provisions for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants as nothing more than amnesty.

The speaker has has also made it clear he will not bring any measure to the House floor unless it receives support from the majority of the GOP caucus.

Yarmuth, a Democrat, is a member of the a bipartisan work group crafting the bill. He says the group has finished a draft that Democratic and GOP lawmakers in the so-called ‘Gang of 7’ are reviewing.

"We still have the strong support and encouragement of Speaker Boehner as well as Leader (Nancy) Pelosi, so I think we’re all committed to perusing this process. And we think that ultimately the vehicle that we come up with will be the vehicle that ends up passing the House," he says.

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Politics
1:45 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth to Seek Re-Election in 2014

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

Democrat John Yarmuth will seek a fifth term as Kentucky's Third District Congressman in 2014.

The lone Democrat in Kentucky's 8-member federal delegation, Yarmuth's position has been elevated as a point person for the White House on federal appointments. And he is currently a member of the bipartisan work group that is crafting a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the House.

In a message to supporters on Tuesday, Yarmuth says it was important to make an official decision long before the January filing deadline.

"Representing the people of Louisville is the best job I could ever hope for," he says. "Hearing from our community and fighting for our priorities continues to drive me as it did from day one, and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon."

Earlier this year, the Yarmuth campaign dismissed speculation that a sparse first quarter fundraising report was a sign of retirement.

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Politics
1:05 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Scolds Lawmakers for Lack of Gun Control Since Newtown Massacre

Congressman John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

In a scolding statement, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., says it is shameful Congress has not enacted stricter gun laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Six months have passed since the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, where a lone gunman killed 20 children and six adults with a semi-automatic weapon.

The shooting sparked a fierce national debate about firearms and the Second Amendment, and a handful of states have either passed or are considering stricter gun laws since.

But gun rights advocates were able to block stricter laws from getting through the Democratic-controlled Senate.

"It is shameful that six months after Newtown, Congress has failed to enact a single gun-safety measure," says Yarmuth. "Nine in 10 Americans demand action to strengthen our gun laws, and I stand with them. It is long past time to enact meaningful reforms that help keep our families safe, our communities secure, and our country free from the daily toll of gun violence."

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Politics
7:00 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Poll: Kentuckians Favor Senate Immigration Bill 3-to-1

A new poll shows a solid majority of Kentucky voters support the comprehensive immigration reform bill currently being debated in the U.S. Senate.

The survey conducted by Harper Polling finds 63 percent of Kentuckians favor the so-called 'Gang of 8' legislation, with just 20 percent opposed. It also shows that 73 percent of likely voters support a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

Members of Kentucky's federal delegation have been at the center of the immigration debate thus far, with  Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth working on the House version and Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul both saying the Senate bill will need to be changed.

But observers note the high percentage of those in the state who support the principles of the 'Gang of 8' bill illustrates the outcome is brighter than previous attempts to reform the system.

"When you look at a number like that when it's that high it makes you think there's a chance something can actually get passed. And when Kentucky members of Congress and our two senators see this kind of approval back in their home state and back in their home districts it’s going to increase the likelihood of them wanting to vote for it," says former Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who is director of the Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.

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Politics
8:25 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth: Immigration Talks Will 'Move Forward' Despite GOP Members Exit

John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth downplayed the exit of Republican Raul Labrador from a bipartisan group of lawmakers working on immigration reform.

The House "Gang of 8" was made up of four Republicans and four Democrats, including Yarmuth.

Lawmakers had been meeting in secret negotiations for months, but Labrador's departure came down to whether undocumented immigrants should be required to pay for their own health care on their pathway towards citizenship.

From Politico:

The problem, Labrador said, was an impasse over how the pending legislation would address the issue of health care for undocumented immigrants. That issue had recently emerged as a major sticking point between Democrats and Republicans, and the negotiations had teetered on the edge of collapse at least three times in the last several weeks before drawing closer to an agreement again.

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Politics
6:18 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Decries Lack of Pay Equity for Women

Speaking on the House floor, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky called on Congress to update the 1963 Equal Pay Act and guarantee pay equity for women in the workplace.

The law was first enacted by President John F. Kennedy and is aimed at abolishing wage disparities between the sexes.

Fifty years ago, women made 59 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Recent studies show women are growing as the chief breadwinners in U.S. households, but still make just 77 centers compared to their male counterparts.

Yarmuth says that fact women have made only 18 cents worth of progress in half a century shows the need for lawmakers to close loopholes in the law.

Watch:

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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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