Mitch McConnell

McConnell Press Office

The Senate is set to hold confirmation hearings starting on Tuesday for several of President-elect Trump's Cabinet choices. Democrats say majority Republicans are jamming the nominees through — nine of them scheduled just this week — and that several of them haven't yet completed or submitted all of the financial disclosure and ethics paperwork required.

It's a big challenge since many of the Trump nominees are wealthy business people with complex financial dealings. The vetting process is complicated because each committee that holds a hearing for nominations has its own set of rules about the information it requires, and each has its own way of making that information public.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Republicans in Congress say they'll vote to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act early next year — even though they don't yet have a plan to replace it.

But they also insist that they don't want to harm any of the millions of people who got their health insurance under the law.

The lawmakers' strategy? Vote to repeal, and fulfill their top campaign pledge. But delay the changes, and keep running Obamacare for as long as two years while they figure out how to fill the hole they'll create in the insurance market.

Alex Brandon/AP

Donald Trump may have run into the first example of how the equal branches of government work — and he's not even president yet. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, the man who controls the agenda in the upper chamber, differed with Trump in a Monday morning press conference, saying he believes Russian involvement in the U.S. election needs to be investigated.

McConnell Press Office

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has found a way to protect health care benefits for thousands of retired coal miners whose benefits are set to expire at the end of the year. But Democrats say the solution offered by the Kentucky Republican is only temporary and does not protect pension benefits that also are at risk.

Abbey Oldham

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says he spoke to Donald Trump Wednesday and congratulated the president-elect on his victory in Tuesday’s election. Republicans also maintained their majorities in the House and Senate.

McConnell says Trump’s victory came in a “stunning” election.

“And clearly an indication that the American people would like to try something new,” he says. “And I know the speaker shares my view that we would like to see the country go in a different direction and intend to work with him to change the course for America.”

McConnell says he expects Trump to act quickly in nominating someone to fill the Supreme Court vacancy and to initiate the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has asked Kentucky Republicans to pray for his party to maintain control amid what he called a "challenging" election cycle this November.

McConnell was one of several speakers at the Republican Party of Kentucky's annual Lincoln Dinner that also included U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Matt Bevin. Republicans are defending 24 Senate seats in November while Democrats are defending 10 seats. McConnell said many of the Republican races are in competitive states that are "in the crosshairs of the presidential" race.

Bevin urged people to elect Republicans to the state House of Representatives, the last legislative chamber in the South still controlled by Democrats. All 100 seats are up for re-election in November. Bevin said the change is needed for him to sign anti-abortion legislation.

J. Tyler Franklin

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell says the state legislature needs to approve a handful of conservative priorities to make Kentucky’s economy competitive with surrounding states.

The list includes repealing the prevailing wage, passing so-called “right-to-work” legislation, allowing charter schools to open in Kentucky and requiring medical malpractice claims to be reviewed by a panel before they can be sent on to court.

The priorities have long been in the sights of Republicans in the state but haven’t passed the legislature, where the Democratic-led House of Representatives has declined to take up the measures.

When asked how his congressional colleagues view Kentucky, McConnell said, “it’s a great place for the Kentucky Derby, but you’re not terribly competitive from a business view.” The Senate Majority Leader made the remarks at a Kentucky Chamber of Commerce forum in Louisville on Monday.

J. Tyler Franklin

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he still supports Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, despite the latest firestorm that has erupted over Trump’s most recent remarks about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

McConnell addressed the Middletown Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

Many say Trump encouraged violence this week when he suggested “maybe there is” something supporters of the Second Amendment could do to stop Clinton from choosing Supreme Court justices. Trump’s campaign said he was referring to the political weight of the National Rifle Association and gun-rights advocates.

Met with laughter from the crowd, McConnell declined — tongue-in-cheek — to respond when asked what he thinks about Trump.

McConnell Says 'Great Likelihood' He'll Seek Another Term

Aug 1, 2016
Abbey Oldham

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is signaling that his long political career may stretch well into the next decade. The Kentucky Republican said there's a "great likelihood" he'll seek a seventh Senate term in 2020.

McConnell, appearing on WKYT-TV's "Kentucky Newsmakers" program that aired Sunday, said he's "at the top of my game" and has been effective in representing Kentucky.

McConnell is the longest-serving senator in Kentucky's history. If McConnell won another term in 2020, it would put him on course to serve well into his 80s.

In 2014, McConnell overcame a fierce challenge from Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes to win his sixth term. McConnell achieved his longtime goal of becoming Senate majority leader when Republicans claimed control of the Senate after the 2014 elections.

Creative Commons

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says a new federal law can begin to turn the tide of drug fatalities in Kentucky and nationwide. 

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA, sets up a federal grant program to help combat heroin and prescription drug abuse.  The law seeks to improve prevention and treatment resources, and provide more first responders with anti-overdose drugs. 

Flanked by law enforcement in Bowling Green on Wednesday, McConnell said CARA will give local agencies the funds to help addicts while prosecuting drug dealers.

"For the people who are using, it's obviously a sickness and they must be cured," remarked McConnell.  "These guys have a lot of sympathy for those people, but they have no sympathy, I assume, for the people making it possible for this addiction to be fed."

While not every area of Kentucky has a heroin problem, most of the state is experiencing prescription drug abuse, as well as crystal meth and synthetic drugs.  Statewide, more than 1,200 people died last year from drug overdoses.

Lisa Autry, WKU Public Radio

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke at the Republican National Convention Tuesday night, immediately following a video message from Donald Trump, who thanked the audience for voting for him to be the presidential nominee for the Republican Party.

“I am here to tell you Hillary Clinton will say anything, do anything, and be anything to get elected president,” McConnell said. “You know that if Hillary is president, we’ll continue to slide, distracted by the scandals that follow the Clintons like flies.”

McConnell was booed by some delegates both times he took the stage Tuesday night. He was also booed on Monday evening when Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus put McConnell’s name forward to act as temporary convention chairman.

McConnell didn’t talk much about Trump during his speech, though he asserted that the newly-minted nominee would sign legislation that the Republican-dominated House and Senate have pushed in recent years.

J. Tyler Franklin

Over the past few days, top Republicans have given hints that they are considering some gun control measures in the wake of the mass-shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando. That’s a sea change for GOP leaders who have typically blocked any new restrictions on gun ownership, citing Second Amendment rights.

The chief proposals include gun-purchasing restrictions for those on the FBI terrorist watch list and expanding background checks for gun buyers.

On Tuesday, several media outlets quoted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying he was “open to serious suggestions from the experts as to what we might be able to do to be helpful.”

And on Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted: “I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns.”

Cheryl Beckley, WKU PBS

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has followed through on some principles laid out in his recent autobiography — rebuking GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump for comments made against a federal judge of Mexican descent.

In his book “The Long Game,” McConnell underscores his support for civil rights, saying he withdrew his support for Republican Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election because of the Arizona senator’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act.

At a Washington press conference on Tuesday, McConnell told reporters that he disapproved of Trump’s comments against the judge.

“It’s time to stop attacking various people that you competed with or various minority groups in the country,” McConnell said.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

While some of Washington's most prominent Republican leaders are still struggling over whether to endorse Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the call to do so last month — as soon as Trump became the likely nominee.

In fact, for all the talk of the GOP's upheaval, the Kentucky Republican says he doesn't think a Trump nomination will redefine the Republican Party in any substantial way. The party is now at "an all-time high," he said.

McConnell spoke to Steve Inskeep of NPR's Morning Edition about what he sees for the future of the GOP — as well as why he approves of Trump's Supreme Court picks and stance on border security, but thinks the candidate's proposed Muslim ban is a "very bad idea."

Interview Highlights

On Trump's picks for the next Supreme Court nominee

The single most important thing I would remind right-of-center voters in suggesting that they vote for Donald Trump is: Who do you want to make the next Supreme Court appointment? Donald Trump has already put out a list of 10 or 11 right-of-center, well-qualified judges, a list from which he would pick. I think that issue alone should comfort people in voting for Donald Trump for president.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

In his attempt to maintain control of the U.S. Senate and send a Republican to the White House this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is walking an awkward line when talking about presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

In an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, McConnell was asked if Trump’s nomination would help Republican candidates for Senate during the November general election.

“I think we don’t know yet,” McConnell said. “What I do think is that Senate races are big enough to where you can paint your own picture. And all of our candidates are going to be in a good position to run.”

Republicans are defending 24 of their 54 seats in the Senate and Democrats are defending 10 of their 44 seats.

Steve Voss, a political science professor at the University of Kentucky, says it’s unclear if Trump will ultimately hurt the GOP’s chances further down the ballot because he both energizes new voters and disenfranchises established ones.

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