Local News

Yarmuth, Hill, LaHood To Meet

Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville will meet with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Representative Baron Hill of Indiana Monday in Jeffersonville.

Yarmuth says the three will discuss the Ohio River Bridges Project and possible ways to pay for two proposed new bridges over the river between Louisville and Indiana.

“We know that the gasoline tax revenue that has traditionally funded all these projects is not going to be of sufficient amounts to create any large funding pool for this project and others,” he says.

Yarmuth says tolls will likely be needed to pay for the bridges, but is just one of many potential funding streams. The congressmen will ask Secretary LaHood for information on federal funding resources.

Local News

Hausman Unveils Jobs Plan

Republican congressional candidate Larry Hausman of Louisville unveiled a piece of his platform today.

Hausman says if elected, he will push for a tax break to allow businesses that add employees to the payroll to deduct those wages twice from taxable income.

Hausman says while he opposes some of President Obama’s programs, this plan would work with the president’s proposals to help small business.

“I would love to see that work out. I would love to see investment tax credits, I would love to see capital gains relief for small businesses,” says Hausman. “To any extent that he’d be willing to work on that, I’d be glad to work with him, given the opportunity.”

Hausman is one of five Republicans seeking the Third District seat currently held by Democrat John Yarmuth.

Local News

Parker Withdraws From 3rd District Race

Citing economic, family and career concerns, conservative activist Marilyn Parker has withdrawn from the race for Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional Seat.

Parker was seeking the Republican nomination to run against incumbent Democrat John Yarmuth. Parker announced her resignation Monday night. She said she is doing what’s best for her family and her private career as a nurse. She also said the downed economy had made fundraising difficult, given her choice to run a grassroots campaign.

Parker says she will remain involved with the Louisville TEA Party conservative protest organization. She gave her support in the Republican primary to businessman Larry Hausman. Hausman will likely face fellow Republicans Todd Lally, Jeff Reetz and Bob DeVore Jr. in the May primary.

Requests for comment from Parker were not immediately returned.

Local News

$100 Million In Bridges Bonds Sold

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear Friday announced the sale of one hundred million dollars in bonds for the Ohio River Bridges Project.

The money will be used to purchase and prepare land for the bridges on the  Kentucky side.     That land will be downtown and in eastern Jefferson County. It sets the path for two bridges over the river and into southern Indiana.

Opposition groups have fought the two bridges plan, and some hope the bi-state bridge authority will abandon one of the spans as the project continues.   Beshear says the project will not change.

“The details about what goes first and what goes second are going to be left up to the bi-state authority and to our two transportation cabinets as we work through how to do this,” he says.

The authority will begin meeting in the next few weeks. Its first task will be to determine out how to pay for the bridges’ construction. Tolls are an option, and federal funds may also be made available.

“I think the administration is going to come forward with a proposal for a national infrastructure bank, which is something I’ve long been interested in and I know our leadership in congress is interested in,” says Congressman John Yarmuth.

Local News

Two More Candidates Express Interest In 3rd District Seat

A crowded field of Republicans could be vying for a chance to take on Democrat John Yarmuth for the Third District congressional seat.

This week, two candidates, businessmen Larry Hausman and Jeff Reetz, announced preliminary plans to enter the race. Hausman is raising money through an exploratory committee, but says he will make a decision in January. Reetz also says he’ll file to run next month. For now, he says he’s focusing on fundraising.

“Well it depends on who you talk to but I think, in general, what our target is going to be is somewhere in the $2 million range for the general election,” he says.

Three others, Marilyn Parker, Todd Lally and Bob DeVore Jr. have announced their intentions to run. As of Wednesday afternoon, only Lally had filed official paperwork with the secretary of state.

Local News

YouthBuild Recieves Second Stimulus Award

Yarmuth-YouthBuildThe YouthBuild job training program in Louisville will receive 100 thousand dollars from the federal stimulus package.

The money will be used to train YouthBuild members in ecologically-friendly construction techniques.

“We’re going to make sure all of our staff are LEED certified,” says program director Lynn Rippy. “What does that mean? That they can help you build a LEED certified home. And then they’re going to be certified in Green Advantage.”

At a ceremony Tuesday, Congressman John Yarmuth touted similar job creation programs in the stimulus plan.

“We have 400 new jobs at GE’s Appliance Park coming in the next couple years to build an energy-efficient water heater,” he says. “Those are jobs back from China because of recovery act dollars. We have construction of a new 4.5 million dollar TARC annex which will create 80 jobs.”

This is YouthBuild’s second stimulus award. In July, the program was awarded nearly 700 thousand dollars for vocational instruction programs.

Local News

KCHIP Stimulus Grant Coming To Louisville

Louisville has been awarded a 250 thousand dollar federal stimulus grant to help increase enrollment in the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The grant will go toward a new program called “Through Any Door.” When families apply for food stamps or other forms of assistance, the program will screen the applicants for KCHIP eligibility. Mayor Jerry Abramson says thousands of families do not know they qualify for KCHIP or how to enroll, and “Through Any Door” will find them.

“It’s an initiative that really will allow a variety of nonprofit organizations to provide information and begin the application process for families who have the right to have their children enrolled in the KCHIP program,” he says.

The program will help reach an enrollment goal set by Governor Steve Beshear. Last year he announced plans to enroll 35 thousand additional children in KCHIP by next summer. Beshear expects to meet the goal next month, but he says he won’t be complacent.

“We will continue that effort,” he says. “We will continue, folks, until we find every one of those children and get them enrolled in this program.”

Local News

Yarmuth Expects Healthcare Legislation This Year

The House of Representatives will begin debating health care overhaul legislation this week.

HR 3962 was introduced last Friday. After a three day reading period it will go to the floor of the House. Third District Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville says he expects it to pass on Friday with no Republican support.

It will then be reconciled with whatever legislation the Senate passes in the coming weeks. Yarmuth says the House’s plan and most of the Senate bills are fairly similar, but differ in how a healthcare overhaul will be paid for.

“The Senate taxes high-end insurance plans, the premium ones, high-end plans,” he says. “We have a surcharge on the wealthiest .3 of 1 percent of Americans. Those making over a half-million dollars a year or a million dollars per household.”

Yarmuth says he’s expecting final legislation to clear both chambers by the end of the year. Republicans contend the Democratic bills would place too much of an additional financial burden on the government.

Local News

Yarmuth Town Hall Draws Capacity Crowd

Town Hall ParticipantCongressman John Yarmuth led a sometimes contentious discussion on healthcare in a town hall meeting at Central High SchoolWednesday. The meeting was Yarmuth’s first and only in-person town hall of the congressional recess.

Nearly 15 hundred people showed up for the meeting, and the much-publicized and outspoken dissenters who have appeared at meetings across the country were a vocal minority.

“Booing’s not going to change my explanation of it,” said Yarmuth. “You can be against it. I understand there are people who don’t support it, but I was asked to explain it and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Town Hall SecurityAfter drawing some boos for expressing support of a government-provided public insurance option, Yarmuth addressed a claim that the plan would put private insurers out of business.

“Let me put it this way,” he said. “We have…we spend in this country billions and billions of dollars every year on bottled water and we have a pretty good public option to that. It’s turn on your tap. People still buy public water. They still by bottled water.”

Yarmuth says the future of the public option could be determined by the president, who will address both chambers of Congress next Wednesday. To hear the full audio of Yarmuth’s town hall, click here.

Local News

Yarmuth Says 51 Votes May Pass Healthcare Reform In Senate

Congressman John Yarmuth says Democrats may not need a filibuster-proof 60 vote majority to pass health care overhaul legislation through the Senate.

Yarmuth says the party can invoke reconciliation for the bill, which blocks a filibuster and allows budget-related items to pass with a simple majority.

“The chances are probably 50-50 right now that in order to get a bill through the Senate reconciliation will have to be done, because we don’t have every one of the Democratic votes,” he says.

Yarmuth says he will not vote for any bill in the House that doesn’t include a public healthcare option. The congressman has long said he supports a public option for healthcare, to compete with plans offered by private insurers.

“We have to put some pressure on them because health care decisions can’t be made based on profit incentive. And that’s unfortunately where we are,” he says. “So I think we have to have a public option.”

He’ll hold a town hall meeting on healthcare reform next week.

He made his comments on WFPL’s State of Affairs program Tuesday