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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Paul Votes Against Short-Term Spending Bill

After congressional leaders reached an agreement on the federal budget, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., opposed the temporary bill to avert a government shutdown.

The freshman senator and Tea Party darling had drafted a Shutdown Prevention Act that his office said would essential federal services continue to function in the absence of a spending bill. However, Paul entered the following statement into the Congressional Record just after the Senate approved the stopgap bill by a voice vote.

From Politico:

“I voted against this short-term continuing resolution for the same reason I voted against the last one and the one before that – because it does not set us on a path to fixing the spending and debt problems our country is facing,” said Paul, a co-founder of the Senate Tea Party Caucus.

“As I have said before, there is not much of a difference between a $1.5 trillion deficit and a $1.6 trillion deficit – both will lead us to a debt crisis that we may not recover from.”

In January, Paul proposed $500 billion in spending cuts in order to reduce the federal deficit. The agreement brokered between Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid makes $39 billion in cuts to this year’s budget.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Budget Deal Reached, Shutdown Averted

An hour before the midnight Friday deadline, Speaker John Boehner said Friday night that a deal has been reached with Democrats on the federal budget to avoid a government shutdown.

The proposal raised the level of cuts to $39 billion from this year’s budget, but spared slashes to groups such as Planned Parenthood while resolving other policy disagreements around social issues that were attached to the legislation.

The negotiators will vote on a stopgap funding bill fund the government through the weekend.

Speaking from the White House, President Barack Obama said he was pleased that Americans of different beliefs came together to avert a shutdown.

“Behind me, through the window, you can see the Washington Monument, visited each by hundreds of thousands from around the world,” Mr. Obama said. “Tomorrow, I’m pleased to announce that the Washington Monument, as well as the entire federal government, will be open for business.”

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Video: Yarmuth Talks About Potential Shutdown

As budget negotiations continue in Washington, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., says the country is on the verge of a government shutdown in a new video message to constituents.

The congressman released the message in response to questions in the district about the cause and impact of a shutdown.

Check it out:

Yarmuth also announced his support of the Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act, a bipartisan bill that would guarantee members of the American armed forces receive their full paychecks, on-time in case congressional leaders are unable to reach an agreement before midnight Friday.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth: Chances of Shutdown Deal Are “Very Slim”

With less than 11 hours before the midnight Friday deadline, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., called proposed cuts made by Republicans reckless and doubted a deal will be made to stop a government shutdown.

Top Democrats and Republicans have publicly disagreed about the reasons for an impasse.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters both parties agreed to $38 billion in cuts on Thursday, but negotiations collapsed due to a dispute over funding for the group Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions and other health services.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., however, has insisted the disagreement isn’t over social issues, but rather the overall spending cuts proposed in the deal.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Shutdown Could Play Out as National Failure

In previous stories we’ve asked who the American people will blame if the federal government shuts down. As usual, political observers disagree and point back to the last shutdown as some sort of road map.

The National Journal’s Matthew Cooper says no matter who is to blame—President Barack Obama, Speaker John Boehner or all of the above—the failure will be shared by us all, many of whom will feel the lack of certain services if an agreement isn’t reached before midnight Friday.

From the National Journal:

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, took their offices with the promise of reconciliation and productivity. Instead, the government of the most powerful nation on earth is about to run out of money and shut down, putting thousands out of work and shutting down everything from military pay to the National Zoo.

How did it—this incompetence—get this bad? After all, the fight over about $7 billion in differences in this year’s budget is about .02 percent of the $3.5 trillion federal budget. It’s like a family making $100,000 falling apart over $20. And then there’s the fighting over intractable issues like abortion, as if either party was about to renounce long-held philosophies and faiths.

The countdown to shutdown continues.

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Today on State of the News

With a government shut-down looming and questions about how such a step would affect the average citizen, Phillip M. Bailey joins us to talk about what lawmakers from Kentucky and Indiana have been saying about the budget impasse and what next week could bring. Rick Howlett reports on a snag in plans to re-open Kentucky Kingdom, and Indiana’s defeated smoking bill.

They’ll also fill us in on a controversial proposal that would allow food stamps to be used to purchase fast food from Yum! Brands restaurants. Then we’ll join our colleagues at The Easter Standard, live from Keeneland with a conversation about the future of Kentucky’s racing industry, with the presidents of Keeneland, Turfway, and Churchill Downs.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Shutdown Negotiations Yield No Deal

With less than a day until a government shutdown, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders failed to reach an agreement Thursday night.

The president met with Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to reach an agreement on a federal budget before the midnight Friday deadline. All sides have said their differences have been narrowed, but a divide remains over abortion policy as a shutdown looms.

“I expect an answer in the morning,” the president said during a brief press conference at the White House.

Mr. Obama has directed his aides to work through the night and has reportedly cancelled a trip to Indianapolis.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Paul Proposes Shutdown Prevention Act

With a government shutdown almost a day away, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has introduced an act his office says will ensure that essential federal services continue to function in the absence of a spending bill.

The act goes beyond certain provisions pertaining to a possible shutdown, however, and instructs the U.S. Treasury to pay the U.S. debt in full,  forbids any funds to be spent on President Barack Obama’s health care reform bill and says no federal money can be spent on abortion services.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Young Questions Obama’s Leadership on Budget Negotiations

Believing there’s still a risk of a government shutdown, U.S. Rep. Todd Young, R-In., says President Barack Obama has failed to lead on budget negotiations.

The freshman lawmaker, who represents most of southern Indiana, says the president has punted on the important debate around the federal budget and hasn’t been heavily involved in the mediation.

“President Obama regrettably has been disconnected from this entire negotiation process,” he says. “I know he kicked off his re-election campaign this week and he’s very busy with other things, but right now this one would think would bubble to the top of his list.”

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

What a Government Shutdown Could Mean

The impact of a federal government shutdown is highly dependent on what President Barack Obama’s administration determines is “essential” and “non-essential”.

For instance, the White House has made it clear that any personnel and services  “necessary for the safety of life and protection of property” of the country and its citizens will continue.

There are a number of other possibilities, though. Here are a few examples:

  • Social Security: Checks could go out to beneficiaries, but anyone who is a new applicant for benefits may face delays (100,000 delays occurred during 1995 shutdown)
  • IRS: Processing of tax refunds for paper-filed returns (approximately 30 percent of total) would be suspended and other tax assistance programs may not be available (problematic with the filing deadline so soon)
  • Construction permits: Developers and construction crews that need permits from the Army Corps of Engineers or the EPA would likely be delayed in getting to work, as the permitting process could be halted
  • National museums and national parks would be close.

It is expected that federal courts, VA facilities and the U.S. Postal Service are likely to  be open if a shutdown occurs.