U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell has picked up endorsements from nearly all state-level Republican lawmakers in Kentucky.
The McConnell campaign announced the endorsements on Monday from 64 of Kentucky's 68 Republicans serving in the Legislature.
McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said the lawmakers will help establish a campaign operation covering all 120 Kentucky counties. Their endorsements, Benton said, shows that the Kentucky GOP is unified heading into next year's Senate election.
Among the lawmakers making endorsements was Senate President Robert Stivers who said McConnell's leadership is needed to "fight against big government and get our fiscal house in order." House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover also endorsed, calling McConnell "a tireless advocate for our conservative values."
McConnell doesn't yet have a major challenger to his re-election. The filing deadline is next January.
U.S. officials have confirmed that Sgt. Michael C. Cable, 26, of Philpot was killed Wednesday when he was stabbed in the neck by an Afghan teenager in eastern Afghanistan.
The killing comes as the monthly U.S. death toll rose sharply in March to 14 with the start of the spring fighting season when the Taliban and other insurgents take advantage of improved weather to step up attacks.
Cable was guarding Afghan and U.S. officials meeting in a province near the border with Pakistan when the stabbing occurred, two senior U.S. officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
The attack occurred after the soldiers had secured the area for the meeting, but one of the U.S. officials said the youth was not believed to have been a member of the Afghan security forces or in uniform so it was not being classified as an insider attack.
The official said the attacker was thought to be about 16 years old, but the age couldn't be verified.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has announced that he won't pursue expanding the state's Medicaid program to help cover the uninsured as part of the federal Affordable Care Act.
Haslam told a joint session of state lawmakers Wednesday that he decided not to do that because he prefers a third option to use federal money to subsidize private insurance. The federal government hasn't accepted that proposal.
Expanding TennCare, the state's Medicaid program, had been estimated to cover roughly 140,000 of Tennessee's nearly 1 million uninsured residents and bring in $1.4 billion in federal money.
Haslam is among the last of the Republican governors to declare a decision on expansion. Both the health care program and President Barack Obama are widely unpopular in the highly Republican state.
A Christians-only health care plan would be allowed to resume operations in Kentucky under a measure approved by the House on Tuesday.
The House passed the measure 88-8 on Tuesday, sending it back to the Senate for final passage.
The proposal would exempt the Medi-Share ministry from state insurance regulations. A Franklin County circuit judge ordered the ministry to shut down last year at the Kentucky Insurance Department's request. The bill in its current form would require members to sign a notice acknowledging they're aware they may not have their claims paid.
The plan resembles secular insurance in some ways but only allows participation by people who pledge to live Christian lives with no smoking, drinking, using drugs or having sex outside of marriage.