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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Washington Post Calls Out Obama Over Ohio River Bridges

In a fact-check of President Obama’s recent speech, The Washington Post scolded the president for using old talking points and incorrectly identifying the Sherman Minton Bridge as closed while lashing out at Republican leaders.

On Monday, Mr. Obama once again criticized Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., about the Brent Spence Bridge connecting their states before a conference of union workers.

The president visited the span for the symbolism last year to rally for his jobs bill, but as the fact checker noted, the Obama administration has failed to explain how the legislation would pay for fixing the span considering it spends most money in 2013 and the Brent Spence is not slated for construction until 2015.

Later in the speech,  President Obama alluded to the Sherman Minton Bridge connecting Kentucky and Indiana as another example, saying it is still shut down. But as local commuters are well aware the span has been back open since February.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

McConnell: House Should Pass Short-Term Payroll Extension

With the deadline approaching, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., publicly broke with Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., and urged the Republican-controlled House to pass the two-month payroll extension.

Last weekend, McConnell brokered a bipartisan deal with Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nv., to keep the tax relief for another two months. However, Boehner denounced the deal after rank-and-file House Republicans rebelled and later rejected the Senate-bill.

Since then, Senate Republicans and GOP pundits have been calling on the House to compromise.

McConnell says the House and Senate should negotiate a long-term deal, but that Boehner’s caucus should first pass the payroll tax set to expire December 31.

From the National Journal:

McConnell groped for political ground in his first public statement on the matter since Boehner denounced the bipartisan package the Senate GOP leader helped negotiate over the weekend. That two-month plan cleared the Senate 89-10 on Saturday.

McConnell said that not only should the House pass the two-month package, but that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., should appoint the conferees that Boehner has demanded to begin formal negotiations between the two chambers over how to lengthen the tax break for a full year.

“House Republicans sensibly want greater certainty about the duration of these provisions, while Senate Democrats want more time to negotiate the terms. These goals are not mutually exclusive. We can and should do both,” McConnell said in the statement.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth Dislikes Senate Bill, But Favors Payroll Tax Cut Compromise

Despite misgivings about certain provisions, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., favors the payroll tax cut deal and believes the House should approve it.

The Senate passed a two-month extension of the tax relief over the weekend, but Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., said Sunday the Republican caucus would reject the bipartisan deal. The speaker says Republicans want a one-year extension and do not believe in a piecemeal policy that will go into next year.

Yarmuth says GOP lawmakers are being irresponsible and are putting the agreement and economy in jeopardy.

“I don’t think any of us are happy with the two-month extension of payroll tax cuts or the unemployment benefits. It’s a horrible way to do policy making. That being said, this is all about compromise and rather than let these tax benefits expire and jeopardize the economy further, I feel this is a reasonable compromise,” he says.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Boehner Clock Urges Democrats to Pass GOP Payroll Tax Plan

The office of U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Oh., released a “countdown clock” on Tuesday to urge Senate Democrats to pass the Republican-sponsored bill extending the payroll tax cuts.

The House approved the legislation by a 234-to-193 vote last night, despite a veto threat from President Obama and a pledge by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nv., that the bill will be rejected due to certain GOP add-on provisions.

The clock is counting down to the December 31 deadline when the payroll tax cuts will expire, but a deal remains elusive.

According to the White House, failing to extend the tax relief will cost an average worker $1,000 annually, but Boehner says the legislation is a compromise that both sides should accept.

“This package does not include everything Republicans would like, nor does it have all that Democrats have called for, but it is a win for the American people and worthy of the president’s signature,” he says.

The countdown begins:

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth Opposes Riders on GOP Payroll Tax Plan

Pledging to vote against the Republican sponsored payroll tax plan, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky. denounced the legislation for making fundamental changes to key programs without debate.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., predicted the roughly $180 billion bill will pass the GOP-controlled House with bipartisan support.

One provision includes speeding up federal approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which has become a dividing issue for proponents who want to extend the middle-class tax cuts. But Democratic opposition has picked up over other additions as well and observers are beginning to count the vote more closely.

Yarmuth says there are several philosophical riders in the bill that have nothing to do with keeping the tax relief for another year, such as environmental protections and unemployment protections.

“The Republican plan changes the way unemployment benefits are structured, it reduces the number of weeks of eligibility and it puts new constraints on those who have been laid off. Just one after another it raises these very ideological points for Republicans and conservatives without absolutely any discussion, debate or analysis,” he says.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Obama Admonishes McConnell Over Bridges — Again

Pitching the American Jobs Act along the Potomac River near Key Bridge on Wednesday, President Obama once again called out Republican congressional leaders by name for not supporting the $447 billion jobs plans.

While the tactic hasn’t proved to serve the Obama administration’s agenda in Washington, it has given the president a slight bump in his approval ratings.

The president specifically criticized Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who were in Louisville together earlier this week, over infrastructure funding, alluding the economic hit small businesses take when bridges such as the Sherman Minton Bridge in Louisville shut down.

From the White House:

Smaller businesses, they don’t have a choice.  They have to go across these bridges.  When a major bridge that connects Kentucky and Indiana was recently closed for safety reasons, one small business owner whose shop is nearby watched his sales fall 40 percent in just two weeks.  Farmers, they can lose five cents a bushel when a rural bridge closes.

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Local News

Orchestra Update, Boehner Speech, Smart Meters, and David Williams Ads: Afternoon Review

In case you’ve eaten nothing but candy all day and haven’t been able to pay attention to the news, here’s a look at some of the things we’ve been covering today.

Today is the deadline for Louisville Orchestra musicians to return to work. The orchestra board says it will begin replacing the players if they do not sign on by the end of the day. Meanwhile, musicians have launched a protest of sorts outside Louisville Orchestra offices at management’s plan to hire permanent replacement workers.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh. spoke in Louisville today, emphasizing the need for leaders in Washington to work together without compromising core principles.

Several Kentucky electricity co-ops will begin using a new technology called “smart meters” soon. The devices send energy data to power companies—so there’s no need for someone to travel to read the meter.

And the campaign for Republican David Williams has released its final ads in the race for Kentucky governor, but the GOP nominee isn’t in either spot.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Boehner Visits Louisville Today

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Oh., is visiting Louisville on Monday to speak at the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center as part of its fall lecture series.

When the GOP took control of the House in 2010 with the help of the Tea Party, the Ohio congressman became one of the most powerful and influential Republicans in Washington. For most the year, Boehner jousted with President Barack Obama and stood against his agenda.

U of L political science professor Dewey Clayton says Boehner’s tenure, however, has been defined by tussles with the Tea Party as much as with President Obama.

“Oftentimes it has sort of thwarted his ability to lead and round up the troops like he’s wanted to. So in many instances when Boehner was negotiating various things it appeared as though he was being held hostage by the Tea Party. And sometimes he had to back down on various deals because they had compromised his position,” he says.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth Scolds Washington in CNBC Interview

Appearing on CNBC Thursday, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., told the business network Americans are fed up with the calamity in Washington over the ongoing debt ceiling deliberations as the August 2 deadline looms.

Yarmuth was asked what his constituents are thinking about the frustrating negotiations, and the three-term congressman ripped congressional leaders as the clock ticks towards the first ever default.

“They can’t believe we are operating in this way,” he said. “The idea that we would be contemplating significant changes in very important programs to institutions like Medicare and Social Security behind closed doors, with a gun at our heads, a date certain. And these talks are being done in secret. We shouldn’t be doing business this way.”

Check it out.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Daniels Endorses Boehner Debt Ceiling Package

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is urging members of his state’s federal delegation to support Speaker John Boehner’s plan aimed at averting the first default in U.S. history.

What’s interesting is that Daniels, who served as Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget under former President George W. Bush, indicts his former administration when criticizing “past…overspending and future overpromising (sic)” in the federal government.

The Bush administration wasn’t the most shall we say, frugal presidency.

From The Weekly Standard:

“I hope the Indiana Congressional Delegation will support Speaker Boehner’s proposal. The terrifying, nation-threatening debt levels caused by past and present overspending and future overpromising will not be solved by any one action or in any one year. But the Boehner plan begins in the right place, with real spending restraint and would show Americans and world markets that we do not intend to commit financial suicide. I hope Congress passes it and then begins work immediately on step two of our long march back to national solvency and economic prosperity.”

Meanwhile, Boehner is still trying to round up enough support in the Republican-controlled House for the afternoon vote. But Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama have dismissed the plan altogether.