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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

Donnelly Wants Super Committee to Focus On Jobs

U.S. Senate candidate and Indiana Congressman Joe Donnelly, D-In., is challenging the bi-partisan super committee to use their power to force action on job creation.

The 12-member panel is charged with finding an additional $1.5 trillion in debt savings over the next decade. If the committee fails to come up with a deficit reduction plan then $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts to domestic and military spending will kick-in.

But Donnelly wants the group to put an emphasis on funding job creating ideas, such as fair trade programs to get Indiana’s 8.7 percent unemployment rate down.

Asked if he supports President Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan helps, Donnelly says he does, but there’s more to be done to address the poor economy.

“You know there are portions of it that are extraordinarily helpful such as the road and bridges part, and then there’s discussions as to how do we do the financing of it,” says Donnelly. “And so, I think the president’s jobs act is a part of an overall discussion that I think can really put people back to work in our state and in Kentucky as well.”

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Here and Now Local News

Child Poverty in Kentucky, David Kessler on the American Appetite for Sugar: Today’s Here and Now

Here’s what we’re planning today on Here and Now:

1:06pm: Speaking to a supporter in Iowa this week, President Obama said he would announce “a very specific plan to boost the economy, to create jobs and to control our deficit.” White House officials say that announcement will come in September. There is a strong debate within the White House over the specifics and the approach — with some aides arguing for a more combative stance on economic issues; others, like senior political advisor David Plouffe making the case for a pragmatic strategy to appeal to independent voters.
Guest: Binyamin Appelbaum, Washington Correspondent for the New York Times.

1:12pm: From caramel sauce for apple slices in a child’s fast food meal to whipped cream on top of a cup of coffee — Americans are surrounded by super-sweet, high-in-calorie-‘extras’. David Kessler is the former head of the FDA and has written about how the American palate craves sweet things. He’s the author of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite.

1:40pm: The latest Kids Count report shows that child poverty is growing in Kentucky and across the US. But there’s some good news, too. We’ll talk about the report, and we’ll get a local perspective on the Kentucky numbers.
Guests: Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO, Annie E Casey Foundation; Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates

2011 Kids Count Data Book

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Local News Next Louisville Politics

Yarmuth, Colleagues Urge “Sizable” U.S. Troop Withdrawal

Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville is among a bi-partisan group of House lawmakers who signed a letter to President Obama urging him to begin a “significant and sizable” reduction in U.S. forces in Afganistan starting next month.

The president will detail his troop drawdown plan in an address to the nation tonight. Defense officials have said that Mr. Obama plans to call for an initial withdrawal of 5,000 troops, followed by 5,000 more by the end of the year.

The U.S. currently has about 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, including 33,000 added in a surge ordered by the president in 2009.

The letter, signed by Yarmuth and at least ten other House lawmakers, says Al Qaida’s presence in Afghanistan has dwindled and some of the billions of dollars spent each month on that war should be used to rebuild the U.S. economy.

The president’s address begins at 8:00pm Eastern time; it will aired live on WFPL.

Here’s the letter sent to President Obama:

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Local News

Jobless Benefits Resume For Thousands of Kentuckians

President Obama signed a bill last week extending federal jobless benefits. Unemployed Kentuckians whose checks were cut off during the Senate impasse over the extension can apply now to restart the payments.

“We know that about 65,000 Kentuckians were in their last eight weeks of benefits, and more than 60,000 had already lost their benefits. In two months that number could have been 125,000-130,000 people, but now that the extension is here we know we’re helping those folks,” said Lanny Brannock with the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.

To get retroactive benefits, out-of-work Kentuckians can call 866-291-2926 to have their checks mailed within a couple of days. They may also visit their local unemployment office, though receiving back pay will take longer.

(From Lisa Autry, Kentucky Public Radio/WKYU, Bowling Green).