Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yoder Will Face Young for Ninth Congressional District Seat

Democrat Shelli Yoder will face Republican Congressman Todd Young in the general election for Indiana’s Ninth Congressional District seat.

The 43-year-old Yoder is a first-time candidate, who works a professional development director at Indiana University’s business school. She won the five-way primary race with 46 percent of the vote and beat notable opponents, such as retired Air Force Gen. Jonathan George and Robert Winningham, who was an aide to former Congressman Lee Hamilton.

The former Miss Indiana will take on Young in the fall, where the freshman lawmaker is favored to retain the seat for Republicans. Besides having a $1 million in campaign cash on-hand, political observers note the district has been redrawn to favor GOP candidates.

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NRA Endorses Young for Re-Election

The National Rifle Association has endorsed Congressman Todd Young, R-In., in his re-election bid.

The group’s Political Victory Fund notified Young of the endorsement on Thursday, saying the freshman lawmaker has a “solid and consistent voting record” and an A-rating from gun rights advocates. NRA leaders also praised Young for co-sponsoring the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act, which would allow out-of-state visitors to carry concealed firearms as long as their home states permits them to do so.

“I’m proud to support the Second Amendment right of our fellow Hoosiers to keep and bear arms,” Young said in a statement. “This right is especially important in our part of the state, where our thousands of acres of forest and field provide numerous opportunities for hunting.  But more than that, Hoosiers deserve to feel safe and protected in their own homes, and proper and responsible ownership of firearms provides exactly that.”

Young is running unopposed in the GOP primary.

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Federal Approval for Changes to Bridges Project Expected Soon

In a letter to U.S. Representatives John Yarmuth, D-Ky., and Todd Young, R-In., the Federal Highway Administration says it expects to approve a new environmental study for the $2.6 billion Ohio River Bridges Project, which is required for the project to move forward.

The Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was initiated after Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer revised the plan and introduced several measures to reduce the cost for building two new bridges across the Ohio River and reconfiguring Spaghetti Junction.

“It is very encouraging that federal approval for the Bridges Project is imminent,” Yarmuth said in a news release. “Throughout this process, I have asked for and received assurances from President Obama and U.S. Transportation Secretary (Ray) LaHood that the approval process will be expedited. With this, we now know the project is expected to be approved—bringing us another step closer to construction getting under way this year.”

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Young Praises GOP Budget Plan

Joining other members of the House Budget Committee on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Todd Young, R-In., came out in support of the controversial budget proposal authored by Republican lawmakers that makes drastic cuts to federal spending and seeks to revamp Medicare.

Dubbed “The Path to Prosperity”, the fiscal plan was drafted by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wi., and cuts $5 trillion relative to the President Obama’s budget proposal. Supporters says it also reforms the U.S. tax code by lowering rates and closing loopholes, and the legislation blocks the president’s proposed tax increase on wealthier Americans to help lower the deficit.

“Americans deserve specific solutions to our debt and economic crises, and that’s exactly what we’ve given them,” Young said in a news release. “More than anything else, this budget puts our country on a path to balance. It gets the government out of the way of the private sector, reduces the risk of more credit rating downgrades, makes our corporate tax rate globally competitive to attract new investments, and preserves programs like Medicare and Medicaid for future generations.”

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Young Addresses Tornado Damage in Southern Indiana

Speaking on the House floor Tuesday morning, U.S. Rep. Todd Young, R-In, discussed the deadly tornadoes that swept through his southern Indiana district last week and the sense of community that constituents have displayed to rebuild their lives.

Across the South and Midwest, the severe weather has caused serious injury and damage to hundreds of homes, killing 39 people in five states. The impact has hit southern Indiana particularly hard, where survivors are beginning to dig up and clean out.

Young says Hoosiers have not sat around and waited for others to help, but that aid would be coming to help them with the recovery work.

“Government at all levels will, and must, be there to help—from local authorities, to the State of Indiana, to our congressional offices. My staff and I, in particular, are eager to connect our constituents to whatever federal services, and funds, might be available to help them get their lives back on track,” he says.

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Area Lawmakers React to State of the Union Address

Several lawmakers from the region have responded to President Obama’s annual State of the Union address, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who earlier criticized the speech before it was delivered.

The responses follow the official GOP reaction from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and an unofficial one from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who both criticized the speech.

From McConnell:

“Tonight, the President delivered a campaign speech designed to please his liberal base. The President told the American people that he has a blueprint for the economy, but what he failed to mention is that we’ve been working off the President’s blueprint for three years. And what’s it gotten us: millions still looking for work, trillions in debt, and the first credit downgrade in U.S. history.

The President also proposed some ideas tonight that could have bipartisan support. If he’s serious about those proposals — if he really wants to enact them — he’ll encourage the Democrats who run the Senate to keep them free from poison pills like tax hikes on job creators that we know from past experience turn bipartisan support into bipartisan opposition.

The President can decide he’s not interested in working with Congress if his party only controls one half of it. That’s his prerogative. He can give up on bipartisanship. But we won’t. Our problems are too urgent. The economy is too weak. The future is too uncertain.

Let the President turn his back on bipartisanship. But we intend to do our jobs. And we invite him to join us.”

Other regional leaders are also adding their thoughts to the president’s address.

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Young Joining Congressional Delegation to Middle East

Joining a congressional delegation, U.S. Rep. Todd Young, R-In., announced he will be going to the Middle East as the U.S. deals with increased tensions with Iran and regional instability.

The group of lawmakers are being led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-VA, and the trip will focus on Iran and its nuclear weapons program, which strained relations between Washington and Tehran.

The delegation is scheduled to visit France, but the group will also swing through Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates in the coming week.

“Iran’s continued efforts to develop nuclear weapons is extremely concerning and poses one of the biggest threats to our national security in coming months and years,” Young said in a news release. “I’m honored and excited to join the Majority Leader on this trip. I look forward to expanding my knowledge of the region, and Iran in particular, and plan to continue working on this issue through the Armed Services Committee when we return. Even as we’ve finished military actions in Iraq, we must continue to ensure that we aren’t ignoring other threats in the Middle East.”

Last week, the Obama administration put new sanctions on Iran as part of the president’s 2012 defense authorization bill due to the country’snuclear development. The president and members of his cabinet have been encouraging international leaders to support the measure.

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Winningham Blasts Young Over Payroll Tax Votes

Indiana Democratic congressional candidate Robert Winningham is criticizing Republican incumbent Todd Young for switching votes on the payroll tax cut compromise last week.

Initially, Young voted against the Senate compromise and defended the Republican-controlled House for doing so, saying the short-term extension would hurt small business owners.

However, growing political pressure from President Obama, Democrats and Senate Republicans put the GOP House under immense pressure. Three days later, Young joined his GOP colleagues and supported the two-month extension, which Mr. Obama signed before the holiday recess.

Winningham says he’s glad Young eventually supported the compromise, but he then accused the freshman of flip-flopping and being in the hip pocket of the Tea Party.

“For Todd Young it was a flip-flop, because earlier in the week he was criticizing his Republican colleagues in the Senate for taking a bipartisan to extend this payroll tax,” he says. “When someone is arguing vehemently against that kind of bipartisanship and then turning around three days later to vote for it, I call that a flip-flop.”

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Young Defends House GOP, Payroll Tax Cut Vote

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has rejected a bipartisan Senate plan to extend a two percent payroll tax cut for an additional two months.

House GOP leaders then voted for an immediate conference with the Senate to negotiate a one-year extension, but the Democratic-controlled chamber has adjourned for the year. If lawmakers fail to extend the cuts then taxes will go up for 160 million workers on January 1.

U.S. Rep. Todd Young, R-In., joined his GOP colleagues and voted against the Senate bill. He says Republican lawmakers listened to their constituents and the short-term extension was not good for small business owners.

“Those job creators out there that said a 60-day extension would really impact their payroll. It would increase their cost and it would increase uncertainty. The last thing we need to do right now is further increase uncertainty in our economic, which would adversely effect job creation,” he says.

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House Passes Payroll Tax Cut Extension

Ignoring a veto threat from President Barack Obama, the House has approved a Republican-sponsored bill extending the payroll tax cuts for another year.

The final vote was 234 to 193, with only ten Democrats supporting the bill. It is expected the Democratic-controlled Senate will reject the measure due to certain GOP policy provisions.

U.S. Rep. Todd Young, R-In., who voted in favor of the measure, released a statement praising its passage, saying it was a needed step to help a wide range of Americans struggling in the midst of a down economy.

“As our economy continues to stall and unemployment remains above 8%, many Hoosiers are struggling to get by,” said Young. “This bill helps in a variety of ways, whether you’re unemployed, working multiple jobs to make ends meet, or retired and depend on government programs like Medicare to pay for health care.”