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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth Bill to End Oil Subsidies, Return Cash to Motorists

Echoing President Barack Obama’s call to close tax loopholes for the oil and gas industry, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., unveiled a bill Monday that will end federal subsidies to oil companies and return the savings to American motorists.

The Gas Rebate Act of 2012 would take the nearly $40 billion in savings from closing the loopholes and provide drivers with a direct one-time payment of approximately $160 per registered vehicle. Gas prices are up more than 17 percent this year and have increased for the last 10 consecutive days with a $3.85 per gallon average.

Yarmuth says his legislation faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House, but voters should pressure lawmakers to get it through Congress.

“Clearly, unless we get voter engagement in the issue of these subsidies it will never pass. The oil companies have spent tens of millions of dollars getting their way with the American Congress. So the whole concept behind this legislation is to give the American voter a way to judge how much these subsidies are worth to them,” he says.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth Rips Limbaugh During Women’s History Month Address

In a House floor speech celebrating Women’s History Month, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., called out talk radio host Rush Limbaugh’s crude remarks about a Georgetown law student as part of a larger Republican assault on women.

Earlier this week, Limbaugh apologized to 30-year-old Sandra Fluke after calling the women’s rights activist a “slut” and “prostitute” during a recent broadcast for coming out in favor of making contraception available to all women.

The issue has become a hot button election-year fight between President Obama and Republicans over his policy that requires health insurance companies to cover birth control.

Yarmuth says Limbaugh’s comments were not an isolated incident, but rather reflect a trend in the GOP in their voting record on Planned Parenthood and Title X family planing services.

Check it out:

Several GOP lawmakers and pundits have come out against Limbaugh’s comments as inappropriate, but political observers have noted the remarks are hurting Republicans nationwide.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Kentucky Federal Delegation Supports Disaster Declaration

Following Kentucky’s two U.S. Senators, the six members of the state’s House delegation sent a letter to President Barack Obama supporting Gov. Steve Beshear’s request for a federal disaster declaration.

An outbreak of storms and tornadoes last week caused damage to several Kentucky towns and Beshear has asked the president to provide the state with federal relief. Thus far, 21 residents have died and 48 counties have suffered extensive damage to public and private property.

Congressmen Ed Whitfield, Brett Guthrie, John Yarmuth, Geoff Davis, Harold Rogers and Ben Chandler said the severe weather caused damage that the state cannot pay for alone.

“As the Governor conveyed in his letter, the severity and scope of the damage caused by these storms is beyond the capabilities of the Commonwealth and the local governments that have been affected,” the delegation writes. “Immediate consideration of the Governor’s disaster declaration request on your part would aid Kentucky communities so severely affected by this most recent disaster.”

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth Discusses Tax Cut Deal, Presidential Race and Iran

Appearing on WFPL News, U.S. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., discussed his views on the growing conflict with Iran, the U.S. presidential race and reforming the way congressional seats are drawn in the Kentucky General Assembly.

The U.S. has imposed severe economic sanctions on Iran. The nation has launched war games to practice defending its borders and nuclear sites as inspectors from the United Nations begin a new round of searches in and around Iran’s uranium-enrichment plants.

Yarmuth doesn’t believe Iran poses a threat to the United States, but he insists the Obama administration should take steps to stop the Middle Eastern country’s nuclear program with direct diplomacy before an escalation of violence.

“I don’t think we should overreact, but we need to … I think the sanction approach and trying to generate some diplomacy with the Iranian government over this. We’re not talking to them yet. We need to be talking with them as well…what we have to remember is the Iranian people are very pro West. It is probably our best chance to nurture a democracy in that party of the world,” he says.

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WFPL News Specials

News Special: Congressman John Yarmuth

Congressman John Yarmuth has proposed amending the Constitution to overturn the Citizens United ruling. But he also supports the President’s decision to endorse a SuperPAC in this year’s election. We’ll talk to Congressman Yarmuth about these and other issues, and give you a chance to share your questions and thoughts at 502-814-8255. Join us Wednesday at 1pm for an hour with Congressman John Yarmuth.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth Co-sponsors Bill Requiring Financial Disclosure in Campaigns

Continuing his crusade against the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United case, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., has co-sponsored legislation that requires full disclosure of corporate and special-interest money in elections.

The high court’s decision allows corporations to spend unlimited funds either directly or through third parties and political action committees to influence elections. The majority of justices rules that a ban on those expenditures was unconstitutional and that corporations—like citizens—have First Amendment rights.

Last December, Yarmuth filed a bill seeking to overturn the Citizens United case through a constitutional amendment. He says the Disclose Act is another step to “getting money out of politics” and mitigate the impact of the case.

“Special-interest money equals influence, and an important step in curbing that influence is to shine a light on where the money comes from. We are seeing the devastating effects of unlimited secret money in politics right now: an avalanche of negative advertising paid for by a handful of wealthy donors. We have to put a stop to it and restore accountability in our political process,” he says.

The 2012 Disclose Act will:

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Deal on Payroll Tax Cut Unlikely, Says Yarmuth

The short-term extension of the payroll tax cut is set to expire at the end of this month, and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., is skeptical a compromise can be reached.

In December, Congress was embroiled in a partisan debate over the issue, but was able to broker a deal to extend the relief for an additional two months. A 20-member conference committee is now discussing whether and how to pay for a further extension of the two percent tax break for nearly every working American.

But negotiations are reportedly going so badly that lawmakers expect the cut to expire by the February 29 deadline.

Yarmuth says the committee members have yet to find common ground and underscores that pessimism is high in Washington over the deal.

“It appears that we are in virtually in the same position we were two months ago and unfortunately there are very few days left where we’re scheduled to be in session in order to come to an agreement. And speaking with some of the conferees, they are no closer to an agreement than they were two months ago,” he says.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth Applauds Kentucky Waiver From No Child Left Behind

Praising the decision, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., joined President Obama at the White House Thursday afternoon for the announcement that Kentucky has been granted a waiver from No Child Left Behind standards and can move ahead with its own education reforms.

The bipartisan bill was the flagship in education reform for former President George W. Bush, but the policy has been roundly criticized as cumbersome for having unreachable goals. Last year, Kentucky applied for the waiver and was one of 10 states that were granted one from the Obama administration.

Yarmuth says the decision clears the way for the state to continue its own reforms to improve accountability and close student achievement gaps.

“Our state has developed innovative reforms to chart students’ success. We know that education is not one-size-fits-all, and I’m glad the president is recognizing the commonwealth’s leadership in implementing core curriculum standards that better prepare our students for college and their careers,” he says.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth Defends Obama Reversal on Super PACs

Despite Democratic opposition to fundraising from outside groups, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., supports President Obama’s decision to endorse a Super PAC working on behalf of his re-election campaign.

Earlier this week, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina announced that senior campaign and White House officials, including cabinet members, will attend and speak at Super PAC fundraising events for Priorities USA Action. It was a reversal from a previous pledge that the president’s staff and aides would not help such groups, which wield more power after the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United decision.

Yarmuth says he would prefer the president not have his cabinet attend Super PAC events, but it would be unwise for the White House to not use the technique in an election year. He adds that the president has stood against the Citizens United case and supports other reforms to reduce Super PAC influence.

“The rules are what the rules are and you can’t go to a knife fight with a library book and you can’t unilaterally disarm. So, I understand the decision he’s made,” says Yarmuth, adding the president has stood against the decision. “I don’t think anybody up until this year really understood the full potential of Citizens United. So you do have to keep up with the conditions as they evolve and I think that’s what they’re doing.”

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Wicker Alleges Congressional Redistricting Favors Yarmuth, Democrats

Frustrated with the redistricting process in Frankfort, Republican congressional candidate Brooks Wicker alleges the plan threatens the viability of the Jefferson County GOP and is calling on supporters to lobby state lawmakers.

The Louisville accountant is challenging Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth, who is seeking his fourth term in office representing Kentucky’s 3rd congressional district, which covers most of Louisville.

The Democratic-controlled House submitted a map that cuts off several GOP-leaning precincts in the city’s East End. Currently, Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-to-1 margin among registered voters.

Both parties in Frankfort are still far apart on a compromise as the maps have gone into a bi-partisan conference committee.

Wicker says the map in the General Assembly is reshaping the district to heavily favor Yarmuth and the Democratic Party over the next decade.

“Allowing the Kentucky Democratic Party’s hold on the 3rd District to tighten—effectively ceding Democrats the largest metropolitan center in the state and the economic engine of Kentucky—will lessen already tenuous opposition representation in the 3rd District and will also weaken the ability of the Republican Party to compete in state-wide elections for the next decade,” he says. “We must fight this effort to artificially solidify Democratic power coming out of Frankfort. Elections are about citizens’ freedom to choose, not about gerrymandering stunts like this.”