President Barack Obama

Local News
10:52 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Barzun Sworn Takes Oath to Become U.S. Ambassador to Britain

U.S. State Department

Louisville businessman Matthew Barzun has assumed his role as Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Barzun was sworn in by Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department on Thursday.

Barzun was nominated for the post by President Obama last month, and the Senate was unanimous in his confirmation.

University of Louisville political science professor Charles Ziegler says this is an important diplomatic post.

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Politics
1:21 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Senator Rand Paul Calls on President Obama to End Foreign Aid to Egypt Amid Growing Violence

Citing the expanding chaos in Egypt, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says President Obama isn't going far enough in the U.S. response to reports that hundreds have died amid violent protests.

The president rebuked the country's military leaders for its crackdown on demonstrators. In a brief press conference, Obama announced the U.S. is cancelling a joint military exercise with Egypt next month.

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Local News
6:04 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Louisville Cardinals Heading to White House

The national champion University of Louisville men’s basketball team will visit the White House this week.

The Cards will be honored by President Barack Obama Tuesday afternoon in the Rose Garden for winning the 2013 NCAA championship.

Afterward, the team will tour the Capitol building and visit with U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, a U of L alumnus.

The Cards won this year’s championship in April, defeating Michigan in the title game.

It was U of L’s third men’s NCAA title, and the first in 27 years.

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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.

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Politics
6:43 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Louisville Businessman Matthew Barzun Selected as U.S. Ambassador to Britain

Matthew Barzun
Credit U.S. State Department

President Obama has nominated Louisville entrepreneur Matthew Barzun to be the next U.S. ambassador to Britain.

A major fundraiser for the president, Barzun served as finance chairman for the Obama re-election campaign last fall.

The selection had been rumored since January, when the New York Times noted Barzun, a tech executive, was in the running for the coveted foreign relations position along with Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour.

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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
10:05 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Mitch McConnell's Campaign Parodies While Super PAC Pounces Alison Lundergan Grimes

Alison Lundergan Grimes

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes hasn't said if she is running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Mitch McConnell, but a pair of preemptive attack ads aren't waiting.

The first is a web video released by the McConnell campaign which mocks Democratic leaders who are trying to get Grimes in the race.

It features impersonators of President Obama, Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman John Yarmuth imploring Grimes to jump in the 2014 contest through a series of voicemail messages. Each have their own motivations, but it underscores how Democrats have been pressuring Grimes to jump in.

The online ad also lampoons other Democrats trying to reach Grimes such as former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Louisville mayor Harvey Sloane, who ran against McConnell in 1990.

Watch:

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Politics
2:49 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

President Obama's Election Commission to Hold Public Meeting in Louisville

Credit http://www.supportthevoter.gov/

President Barack Obama's commission to improve the voting experience in U.S. elections will hold its first public meeting with officials in Louisville this week.

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration was formed this past March in response to a chorus of voters who complained of long waiting periods and confusion during the 2012 election.

An investigation of better election practices will be conducted by the group, and a report will be submitted to the president this fall.

The commission is set to hold four nationwide hearings on improving U.S. elections, but will convene in downtown Louisville this Saturday at the International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers's annual conference.

Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson was appointed to the 10-member commission. He says meeting with local officials who work with voters directly is important to any overhaul nationally.

"The local election administrators are the front lines of elections," he says. "We can't accomplish the task we've been assigned by the president without talking to these local administrators. They're dealing with the budget cuts and difficulty with recruiting poll workers, and the biggest task for us is to try to reduce the line issue. And they're the ones who have to battle that the most."

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Politics
6:12 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Trey Grayson Appointed to Presidential Election Commission

Credit harvard.edu

Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson has been appointed to President Obama's commission to improve U.S. elections, which was first introduced at this year's State of the Union address.

During the 2012 elections, voters across the country complained of long lines and confusion at the polls, and many have called for reforms to the system since the 2000 presidential race.

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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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