Mitch McConnell

McConnell Juggling Diverse Demands on Republican Health Bill

May 30, 2017
Cheryl Beckley, WKU PBS

For Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, writing a Republican-only health care bill that can pass the Senate boils down to this question: How do you solve a problem like Dean, Lisa, Patrick, Ted, Rand and Susan?

Those are some GOP senators whose clashing demands McConnell, R-Ky., must resolve. Facing solid Democratic opposition to demolishing former President Barack Obama's 2010 overhaul, Republicans will lose if just three of their 52 senators defect.

In a report that complicated McConnell's task, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office delivered a damaging critique last week of the GOP-written bill the House approved May 4. It concluded the measure would create 23 million additional uninsured Americans by 2026; lower premiums for younger and healthy people by letting them buy sparser coverage; and confront unhealthy, poorer and older consumers with exorbitant out-of-pocket costs.

U.S. Senate Acts on Trump Pick, Promotes Judge to Appeals Court

May 25, 2017
Vanderbilt University

The Senate on Thursday filled the first federal appeals court vacancy in more than a year, promoting a trial court judge who is close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar of Kentucky was confirmed for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by a 52-44 vote. Thapar was the first judge nominated by President Donald Trump to a district or appeals court.

There are about 120 court vacancies now, with Senate Republicans having slowed confirmations toward the end of President Barack Obama's term.

The last appeals court nominee to be confirmed: U.S. District Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo in January 2016 for the 3rd Circuit after a wait of more than 400 days.

screenshot/youtube

Long before Roger Ailes stepped down from his post at the helm of Fox News in the wake of sexual harassment allegations, he was a political operative working for Republican politicians like Mitch McConnell.

Ailes passed away on Thursday at the age of 77.

Back in 1984, he made a notorious advertisement featuring a gaggle of hound dogs that helped launch McConnell’s career in Washington.

“Nobody thought Mitch McConnell was going to beat Dee Huddleston,” said Al Cross, director of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues.

Martin Falbisoner/Creative Commons

None of Kentucky’s Republican senators or congressmen responded to requests for comment on allegations that President Donald Trump gave classified information to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister last week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell briefly addressed the issue during an interview on Bloomberg TV Tuesday morning.

“I think we can do with a little less drama from the White House on a lot of things so that we can focus on our agenda,” McConnell said.

Rich Girard/Creative Commons

In the wake of President Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says a special prosecutor is not needed to investigate Russia’s interference in last year’s presidential election.

Democrats — including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky — ramped up calls for an independent investigation into Russia’s meddling after Comey’s abrupt removal.

On the Senate Floor, McConnell dismissed the requests.

“Today we’ll no doubt hear calls for a new investigation, which could only serve to impede the current work being done,” McConnell said.

This is how the Senate changes — not with a bang, but with a motion to overturn the ruling of the chair.

By a simple majority vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set a new precedent in the Senate that will ease the confirmation for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Friday, after 30 more hours of debate on the floor.

"This will be the first, and last, partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court justice," said McConnell in a closing floor speech.

AP Interview: McConnell Warns Republicans On Health Bill

Mar 22, 2017
Abbey Oldham

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned fellow Republicans Tuesday of political consequences if they oppose health care legislation coming up for a vote in the House this week.

“I would hate to be a Republican whose vote prevented us from keeping the commitment we’ve made to the American people for almost 10 years now” to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law, the Kentucky Republican told Associated Press reporters and editors in an interview.

“I think the American people would be deeply disappointed that we were prevented from keeping our commitment by Republicans who in the end, in effect, voted for the status quo.”

Mitch McConnell Interrupted as Trump Protests Continue

Feb 23, 2017
J. Tyler Franklin

Two protesters interrupted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's speech Thursday before a suit-and-tie crowd at a local chamber of commerce luncheon in northern Kentucky to demand he speak with them.

McConnell has made three days of public appearances in Kentucky that required attendees to have tickets. Both protesters, who did not identify themselves, were quickly escorted out of the room. McConnell quipped, "I see we're having multiple speakers today," before continuing his speech.

Afterward, McConnell told reporters he is listening to what the protesters have to say, but he said they have a fundamental disagreement. He defended their right to protest.

Hundreds of protesters have greeted McConnell this week. Many, including 35-year-old Steve Felix of Highland Heights, held signs demanding Republicans back off plans to repeal the federal Affordable Care Act. McConnell vowed Congress would repeal the law "this year."

Ryland Barton

With hundreds of protesters assembled outside, Sen. Mitch McConnell held a contentious town hall-type event in Lawrenceburg on Tuesday.

The Senate Majority Leader refused to answer two questions from opponents in the audience, asking instead for inquiries from those “who maybe actually were interested in what I had to say.”

During a speech, McConnell said that opponents needed to get over the results of the election.

“They had their shot in the election, they certainly had their shot in Kentucky,” McConnell said. “I always remind people winners make policy and losers go home, that’s the way it works.

Roxanne Scott

Hundreds of people gathered downtown Louisville Tuesday outside the office of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to voice their opposition to the executive orders signed by President Donald Trump regarding refugees and immigrants.

Some also complain that McConnell is not listening to their concerns. McConnell told ABC last weekend that he doesn’t want to make a blanket criticism of the policy, but the government should be careful going forward.

I went to the “No Ban! No Wall!” rally site outside the federal courthouse to talk to participants and some passers-by.

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.

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