A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Mitch McConnell: Senate’s confirmation of federal judicial nominees puts country on right path

The Senate is working with President Trump to secure significant accomplishments for the American people, from combating the opioid epidemic to providing the largest year-on-year increase in defense funding in 15 years. However, there’s one key issue I want to especially highlight because it can set our nation on the right path for generations to come. It’s the Senate’s successes in confirming...

Bill Straub: White House turned into ATM machine and other ugly stuff; McConnell’s getting fleas

Any attempt to pinpoint President Trump’s most grievous sin against the body politic is rather like picking out one particular star in a moonless night sky – the process could continue forever. A simple recitation of the known violence the president has perpetrated upon the nation he was chosen to serve would sate an entire column even without the usual smart-aleck asides. There is, of course,...

Kentuckian Gina Haspel confirmed as first woman director of the CIA; Senate vote is 54-45

Staff report Kentuckian Gina Haspel, 61, has been confirmed as the first woman director of the CIA, confirmed by the Senate on Thursday. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the president’s nominee for Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel: “Yesterday, the Intelligence Committee took an important step toward confirming Gina...

Bill Straub: Forget fair play, forget the ABA, just squeeze those questionable judges through

For reasons inexplicable, Democrats have never taken the appointment of federal judges as seriously as Republicans, who understandably place that particular task atop their priority list. Given the opportunity to secure control over one of the three branches of government – albeit one that is supposed to be non-partisan – is a prospect any politician with a lick of sense should jump on. But former...

Mitch McConnell: Addiction, the public health crisis of this generation, is creating a workforce emergency

Substance abuse is the public health crisis of this generation. It’s claiming lives in Kentucky and across the nation at an unprecedented rate. Like nearly half of all Americans, you or your family probably know someone whose life has been torn apart because of drug addiction. But as a leader in Kentucky’s business community recently noted, this problem isn’t only devastating families and communities....

Bill Straub: What’s in store for our duly sworn governor after his one term? Senate? Presidency?

Since the job of Pope is currently filled, there exists speculation aplenty over what position St. Matt the Divine, the duly sworn governor of the great Commonwealth of Kentucky, might pursue once his term expires 19 months hence. Of course, a perusal of the latest surveys, like one released last month by the Western Kentucky University Social Science Research Center, dubbed The Big Red Poll, indicate...

Mitch McConnell: As ‘Tax Day’ passes, say goodbye to unfair, outdated tax code now in the past

For many middle-class families and businesses, Tax Day is circled on the calendar with regret and trepidation. But this year, this depressing day had a silver lining — simply put, it’s ‘out with the old, and in with the new.’ Today is the last time American families will have to file under the unfair, outdated tax code that Congress and the president got rid of a few months ago. Republicans’...

Senate confirms Jennings as first woman to serve as U.S. District Judge for Western District of Kentucky

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered remarks on the Senate floor following the Senate confirmation of Rebecca Grady Jennings of Louisville, Kentucky to serve on the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Sen. McConnell and Jennings at her nomination hearing in November (provided). In November, Senator McConnell welcomed Jennings to the U.S. Capitol...

Gov. Bevin: Kentucky Opportunity Zone Initiative holds promise of economic growth for local communities

Gov. Matt Bevin announced Monday the U.S. Department of the Treasury certified 144 Opportunity Zones in 84 Kentucky counties under a program in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that aims to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide. Gov. Bevin The designation offers significant federal tax breaks and deferrals to entities and individuals investing in Opportunity...

Mitch McConnell: Kentuckians are filing last tax returns under old system as new tax law takes effect

This time of year, Americans are taking part in an annual headache-inducing ritual: filing their income tax returns. Most of us dread completing this complicated paperwork and writing a check to the IRS each year, particularly under the current arcane federal tax system. Thankfully, as a result of the historic overhaul of the federal tax code, this is the last time that you will have to file under...

Mitch McConnell: SESTA legislation an important step toward justice for online sex trafficking victims

Many of us have heard heartbreaking stories of human trafficking and child exploitation. These reprehensible practices continue to plague communities and devastate families throughout our nation, sickening us to the core. Last year, 82 cases of human trafficking were reported to helplines in Kentucky, and more than 400 cases have been reported in our state since 2007, according to the National Human...

Bill Straub: Giving the devil his due, McConnell has given the President notice about firing Mueller

It could be said, if one were petulant, that Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root ‘n Branch’’ McConnell’s strongly worded support for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election provides an example of an old, blind sow finding a truffle every now and again. After all, McConnell, of Louisville has in recent years raised placing...

Mitch McConnell: Banking reform bill will help Ky’s community banks, and Main Street America

When Kentuckians look to apply for a mortgage or a small business loan, they often turn to someone they know at their local community bank or credit union. These small financial institutions – there are more than 100 throughout the Commonwealth – are focused on their own neighborhoods, helping to grow the economy and provide a critical service to their customers. But for the past eight years, these...

Bill Straub: McConnell has some explaining to do for inaction on knowledge about Russians and election

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has some explaining to do. And if he isn’t up front about the rationale regarding his actions — or, in this case, inaction — pressure should be exerted on him to resign. The issue is Russia and its assault on the American electoral process, specifically the 2016 presidential campaign. Russian trespassing represented nothing less than an attack...

Mitch McConnell: Bipartisan budget a step forward in combating opioid crisis, but more must be done

On an average day, 175 Americans die from drug overdoses. Families in Kentucky and throughout the nation are bravely confronting substance abuse – including heroin, prescription drugs, and an alarming resurgence of methamphetamine – and law enforcement is working hard to help. With our communities in crisis, I remain committed to finding comprehensive solutions to end this suffering through coordinated...

Mitch McConnell: Budget act ensures Berea College can continue mission for Kentucky’s students

Last December, Bernie Sanders, a liberal Senator from Vermont, led every single Senate Democrat to impose an endowment tax of around $1 million per year on Berea College. This was a particularly outrageous act of partisan hypocrisy from a Senator who claims to want free college for all. But when it came to this particular college – which already provides tuition-free education for students whose...

Bill Straub: The Napoleon of coal (good, beautiful, clean) coal is just playing along and enjoying the joke

There are many good things that can be said about coal. For decades, even centuries, in the United States it helped keep homes warm in the winter. Coal brought electricity to even the most remote regions of the country and, it should be noted, helped spur the economic revolution that truly made America great. But beautiful? Coal is a substance that ravages regions where it’s uncovered, dirties...

Bill Straub: Count the ways Mitch McConnell’s word can’t be good; another stopgap event looms

The immediate, knee-jerk reaction many people have when asked if they have faith in someone on the opposite side of a contentious dispute is to respond, “I trust him about as far as I can throw him.’’ While Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root and Branch’’ McConnell presents a very slight figure – 140 pounds soaking wet? – it’s doubtful that even the likes of Hulk Hogan could toss...

Bill Straub: With Ryan stuck on entitlements, is McConnell ready to work with Dems on infrastructure

WASHINGTON – One thing that can be said about Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root and Branch’’ McConnell, to paraphrase the late Democratic Sen. Henry “Scoop’’ Jackson of Washington, is that he’s a conservative, not a damn fool. McConnell While his counterpart in the lower chamber, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI, is becoming increasingly bellicose about tackling entitlements during...

Bill Straub: ‘The hour of reckoning is coming,’ and it should, for the imposter at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Steve Schmidt, the Republican strategist who grew up a stone’s throw from my New Jersey hometown and has broken with his party over the comfort and support it’s providing to the interloper in the White House, asserted recently that “the hour of reckoning is coming.’’ Well, that moment may be at hand. It’s not so much that Democrats captured an Alabama senate seat it had no business winning...