The overwhelming majority of SNAP households are families with children, seniors, or people with disabilities. Almost three-quarters of SNAP participants are in families with children; more than one-quarter are in households that include senior citizens or people with disabilities.
SNAP households have very low incomes. Eighty-five percent of SNAP households have incomes below the poverty line (about $23,050 for a family of four in 2012). Such households receive 93 percent of SNAP benefits. Two of every five SNAP households have incomes below half of the poverty line. Such individuals and families have little flexibility in their monthly budgets to cope with deep reductions in food assistance.
Not only did Kentucky House and Senate leaders screw up the state legislature redistricting, they appear to have hit a dead end on the mandated 10-year re-draw of Congressional districts.
The House favored a bill which would have strengthened Ben Chandler in the 6th (after he eked out a 600 vote victory, one vote per precinct, in 2010) and bettered Dem chances in the 1st and 5th while making the already Awesome 3rd even more Awesome.
The Senate Republicans, on the other hand, sought to maintain the Republican strength in the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th, and attack Chandler in the 6th.
House leader Greg Stumbo and 5th District porker Hal Rogers came up with something of a compromise, House Republican leader Jeff Hoover was kinda on board, but the Senate Republicans weren’t having it, especially Damon Thayer who, having already tried to disenfranchise the voters of Fayette County, mitched and boehned about a perceived “damage” to Fayette by allowing the 6th to get Bluer.
The filing deadline for Congressional seats, already extended a week, was today.
The House and Senate failed to reach a compromise Tuesday on a new congressional redistricting plan as the filing deadline passed — and House Speaker Greg Stumbo said legislators likely won’t try to change the current district lines this session.
He conceded, however, that such an approach would likely be ruled unconstitutional if challenged in court.
A decade after the current lines were drawn, the districts vary considerably in population — in violation of court standards — and Stumbo said he didn’t believe they would withstand scrutiny.
Should a candidate (Barr, etc) or a national party (GOP, etc) challenge the lack of new districting, Stumbo thinks the courts will just do the drawing.
Four of Kentucky’s five incumbent congressmen will have no opposition in the state’s May 22 primary.
And Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District, is facing only a perennial candidate, Burrel Charles Farnsley, as a primary opponent and a relatively unknown Republican, Brooks Wicker, for the general election, according to filings in the Kentucky secretary of state’s office. The filing deadline was Tuesday.
The 1st (Whitfield) has two Dems in the Primary, the 2nd (Guthrie) is probably already over, the 5th (Rogers) possibly bought and paid for, and the 6th a grudge match between Garland Barr and Ben Chandler.
Yarmuth Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Get Money Out of Politics
Constitutional amendment overturns key provision of Citizens United, establishes that money does not equal speech; also allows for public financing of federal elections.
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (Ky-03) will introduce a Constitutional amendment to get money out of politics by overturning a key provision of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates for special-interest influence on elections and in Washington.
The amendment, which Yarmuth will introduce alongside Republican Congressman Walter Jones (NC-03), establishes that financial expenditures and in-kind contributions do not qualify as protected speech under the First Amendment. It also enables Congress to establish a public financing system that would serve as the sole source of funding for federal elections.
“Corporate money equals influence, not free speech,” Yarmuth said. “The last thing Congress needs is more corporate candidates who don’t answer to the American people. Until we get big money out of politics, we will never be able to responsibly address the major issues facing American families – and that starts by ensuring our elections and elected officials cannot be bought by the well-off and well-connected.”
“If we want to change Washington and return power to the citizens of this nation, we have to change the way campaigns are financed,” Jones said. “The status quo is dominated by deep-pocketed special interests, and that’s simply unacceptable to the American people.”
In a 5-4 decision in January 2010, the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of federal election law, allowing corporations to spend general treasury funds for communications that advocate for the election or defeat of a specific candidate. In its Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, the Court determined that a ban on these expenditures violates the First Amendment – reversing nearly 100 years of established legal precedent.
By establishing that money does not equal protected speech, the Yarmuth-Jones Amendment allows Congress to regulate campaign finance without a constitutional challenge under Citizens United.
The effect of unrestricted corporate spending in elections has been dramatic. Outside groups spent four times more money (a 427 percent increase) on midterm elections in 2010 than in 2006. And because there are no new disclosure requirements on corporate “persons,” much of the money has been spent outside the view of the American public.
The DISCLOSE Act, which Yarmuth cosponsored, would have installed disclosure requirements for new corporate spenders. But Senate Republicans used a filibuster to defeat it last year.
Yarmuth is a longtime supporter of campaign finance reform. He is a cosponsor of the Fair Elections Now Act to establish a public financing system for federal elections. He is also a cosponsor of the Shareholder Protection Act, which directs the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue rules that require corporations to disclose political contributions to their shareholders.
Last year, Yarmuth introduced a resolution calling on Congress to mitigate the effects of Citizens United. He also joined an amicus brief to the Supreme Court supporting Arizona’s public financing system for elections.
As Joe points out in great depth, what the advertisement lacks in honesty it more than makes up for with repitition. Like in saying that Barack Obama has crippled the economy when the CBO says not and this pretty picture of private sector hiring says not:
Meanwhile, State Sen. Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) released his own plan for redistricting which, unlike Stumbo’s recent foray which mostly protected incumbents, aims to turn Chandler’s 6th District red… to the point that had Thayer’s lines been drawn in 2010, Quiet Ben would’ve lost the election he damn near managed to lose by himself. (Meanwhile, Thayer would make Yarmuth stronger.)
Fundraising reports filed with the Federal Elections Committee (FEC) at the end of the 3rd Quarter show that on average, Southern Democratic incumbents who were elected with less than 55 percent of the vote last year have done a better job of bringing in the dough than the similarly vulnerable Republicans.
The eight Democrats from the South who managed to avoid the GOP sweep in 2010, but still had close races, have so far raised a total of $4,283,000 dollars, or an average of $535,000 each.
….On the Democratic side, the top money raisers were second-termer Gerry Connolly (D-VA) with $843,000, four-term Ben Chandler (D-KY) at $720,000, and nine-term Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) with $682,000. Bringing up the rear were ten-term Sanford Bishop – who got helped by redistricting – with $369,000, and three-term John Yarmuth (D-KY) with $216,000.
Chandler, a Democrat, won by only 647 votes last year, and he’ll be on the ballot next year with President Barack Obama in a state and a district that will favor the GOP nominee.
Still, it’s the Republican who appears to be at a disadvantage a little more than a year before the election.
Kentucky’s redistricting process is unfinished, but Republican strategists familiar with the state told Roll Call that the odds were for the decennial Congressional map redraw to favor Chandler and other incumbents. A slightly more Democratic 6th district could have a big effect for Chandler, a Blue Dog.
There’s a lot in this clip… Bachmann gets her facts wrong, then Ron Paul gets his facts wrong, then Gingrich does… then all of them get their facts wrong about the stimulus and inflation… et cetera.
If you’re looking to jump right ahead to Congressman Awesome and Indiana’s proactive step to cut Kentucky off and leave its Rand Paul zombie citizens to eat each other… then you want to jump to about 10:30 for the set up. If, on the other hand, all you really want is your Yarmuth-fix, then you’ll want to skip right to 13:15.
Also, as I was scrolling through to find Rep. Awesome, I saw a brief clip of Rick Santorum standing on the stage with all the other GOP candidates at the recent debate. Who know that guy was even still in the race?
In his speech last Thursday, Barack Obama said this:
Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us a economic superpower. And now we’re going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads? At a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could build them right here in America?
There are private construction companies all across America just waiting to get to work. There’s a bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that’s on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America.
This bridge — the Brent Spence, connecting Covington and Cincinnati – is “functionally obsolete” according to the Department of Transportation and this summer large chunks of concrete began falling from the upper deck onto the lower one.
Most people would identify this as a problem.
The I-71/I-75 bridge is a key connector between Michigan, northern Ohio, Upstate New York and the Great Lakes and the industries, consumers and shippers of the American South, in particular, Florida. According to the DOT (pdf):
“The Brent Spence Bridge, which opened to traffic in 1963, was designed to carry 80,000 vehicles per day. Currently, approximately 160,000 vehicles per day use the Brent Spence Bridge and traffic volumes are projected to increase to approximately 233,000 vehicles per day in 2035.”
Except for the fact it’s Barack Obama talking about fixing it. And it might require closing tax loopholes for billion dollar corporations. And it might mean a very, very small group of very, very rich people might pay the same taxes they paid before the war and before the Bush Tax Cuts bankrupted the country.
But with those few words, Obama made the bridge a top priority for replacement and, perhaps, a subtle jab at House Speaker John Boehner of West Chester and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
“I appreciate the president highlighting this project and I trust this means that when the planning for this project is solidified this administration will prioritize it,” McConnell said Friday.
Whether it will help win their support for his jobs plan remains to be seen.
“I’m less enthused by the president lumping a crucial artery for goods and services in America together with a call for another stimulus and massive tax increases,” McConnell added.
Translation: Mitch McConnell’s going to fight Barack Obama, he’s going to fight the jobs bill, he’s going to pretend it’s a stimulus package and he’s going to pretend the last one failed. He’s going to lie, cheat and steal because, as he has made clear, Mitch McConnell’s one-and-only mission is:
“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
In Mitch McConnell’s world, America can go itself. Let the bridge crumble. Let it fail. Let us fall.
As for Kentucky… who cares about Kentucky?
Certainly not Mitch McConnell. Or Rand Paul. Or Hal Rogers… or Geoff Davis, the Congressman who supposedly serves the people of Northern Kentucky most affected by this bridge. And it’s not just Davis, of course. The entire state is affected by the flow of traffic along these interstates, with I-75 in particular driving commerce and investments right through our center, with thousands and thousands of jobs depending on that continued flow of traffic.
But the state’s Republican delegation have all stated their opposition to the plan the President laid out last Thursday.
The Republicans of the Commonwealth of Kentucky would rather see the Brent Spence Bridge fail than see Barack Obama succeed.They would rather see Kentucky fail than see an America with a modern transportation infrastructure.
The Sherman Minton Bridge was closed late Friday afternoon and will remain shut down indefinitely after officials discovered cracks in the span.
Will Wingfield, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said officials “do not have an estimate” on how long it will take to repair and reopen the bridge, which carries Interstate 64 traffic across the Ohio River.
Wingfield said the cracks were found in two steel support beams below the lower deck closer to the Kentucky side.
The bridge to Mitch McConnell’s hometown is falling apart — how long can his opposition to an investment in America stand?
Unlike the Sherman Minton Bridge, the will of Mitch McConnell and the Kentucky Republican Party doesn’t seem to be crumbling.
The closure came just a day after President Obama renewed his call for Congress to invest in infrastructure improvements to stimulate the economy and address the nation’s crumbling bridges and roads, as studies have shown the nation needs $2 trillion in investment just to bring its infrastructure up to date. McConnell criticized Obama’s plan, saying it was “a re-election plan.”
But while McConnell insists that Republicans “agree that we must bring America’s infrastructure up to 21st century standards,” his recent record doesn’t show it. When progressives and Democrats argued that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act should be geared toward infrastructure, the GOP under McConnell’s leadership fought to focus it on tax cuts. The Senate GOP derailed a 2010 jobs plan focused largely on infrastructure investment, and if McConnell’s post-speech rhetoric is to be believed, he will be at the forefront of the Republican Party’s opposition to this plan too.
Mitch McConnell and Kentucky’s Republican Party are so dedicated to the cause of Obama’s failure that they will allow America’s failure and this state’s failure.
With the failure of these bridges, Kentucky can return to the 19th Century, cut off from manufacturing, produce, consumer goods and jobs.
The old story of Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere” is just that… an old story. It’s time for a new one and Mitch McConnell (and Rand, Geoff, Ed, Hal and Brett) are writing it.
You don’t need a bridge to get to their Kentucky because, as everyone will soon know, Kentucky is nowhere.
Between David Williams discovering the bible (a version of the Good Word that smiles upon gambling, of course) and his running mate apparently stealing a refrigerator, this slipped under the radar for many… but at the State Fair’s Ham Auction, Rand Paul and John Yarmuth got together to slam Tim Geithner. It was Awesome:
It’s back to Washington after Labor Day, and Americans are waiting for Congress to do something to stimulate job growth. How you make that happen is the million dollar question.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claims job growth is being squashed by too many government regulations: “The American private sector is just drowning in new regulations. It’s keeping us from coming out of this economic slowdown.”
Once again, the Kentucky delegation of the national GOP leading the charge to re-employ Americans by way of cutting the burdensome regulations that keep people from dying earlier deaths by way of dirty air, dirty water, unsafe toys and, oh, everything else. Which, come to think of it, actually starts to make sense.
If the GOP “jobs plan” is successful, it will indeed lower unemployment because people will just start dying off. Not a bad idea, Mitch. Not a bad idea at all.
Well this is just fascinating. The Heritage Institute ranked all the nation’s Reps and Sens based on some scale they made up and here’s what they made upcame up with:
Sen. Rand Paul 93%
Sen. Mitch McConnell 72%
Rep. Geoff Davis (KY-4) 63%
Rep. Hal Rogers (KY-5) 54%
Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-2) 54%
Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY-1) 49%
Rep. Ben Chandler (KY-6) 20%
Rep. John Yarmuth (KY-3) 10%
Seems like ol’ Rand did pretty freaking awesome, right?
Well not really! Our little Jellied Doughnut didn’t even crack the Top 5, that’s how wacky the Heritage Inst’s “conservative” valuation really is. Demint got a 99%.
Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who received a 98 percent rating; South Carolina Rep. Jeffrey Duncan (97 percent); Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (96 percent); Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan (96 percent); and Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake and South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney (95 percent).
You may recall that just last month conservatives at The New American rated all the Congresspeople on their level of “Freedom” and they found that Paul was the most Freedomy Senator in all the land. For the sake of comparison then, here’s their dumb list once again so that you may compare the Kentucky Delegation’s “Conservative” rankings to their “Freedom” rankings:
100% — Sen. Rand Paul
89% — Brett Guthrie (R-02)
80% — Ed Whitfield (R-01)
80% — Geoff Davis (R-04)
79% — Hal Rogers (R-05)
60% — Sen. Mitch McConnell
30% — Ben Chandler (D-06)
20% — John Yarmuth (D-03)
You’ll notice some patterns (Yarmuth sucks at “Freedom” and “Conservatism”) and some differences (Guthrie is significantly more “Freedomy” than he is “Conservativy” and the opposite for Mitch).