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McConnell reacts to Breyer retirement, receives FEMA update in Bowling Green

Lisa Autry

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is reserving comment on Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s planned retirement from the bench.

NPR and other media outlets are reporting Breyer is expected to make a formal announcement Thursday. 

During a stop in Bowling Green on Wednesday, the GOP leader was asked if his party would attempt to block President Joe Biden’s nominee.

"We don’t even know who the nominee is yet, so that’s something the president has an opportunity to make and Justice Breyer will determine when and if there’s a vacancy," McConnell said.

Although Biden's pick wouldn’t change the overall balance of the court, the nominee could serve on the court for decades.

The court currently has six conservative justices appointed by Republican presidents, and three liberals appointed by Democrats.

McConnell said he wouldn’t have an official response until Justice Breyer made an official announcement. The Louisville Republican added that once a nominee is named, he’d offer further comment on what he called Breyer’s “long and distinguished career.”

McConnell spoke at the FEMA Recovery Center in Bowling Green where he praised local officials and federal partners for making “extraordinary progress” in helping residents impacted by last month’s tornado

“Well, it’s a long haul, and I think the challenge once the new wears off of the disaster, is to stay with it until you get back. With the housing issues, this isn’t going to happen overnight. We need to stick with these people until they’re back in appropriate accommodations.”

While some renters were previously denied FEMA assistance, Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon announced the federal agency has agreed to pay 125% of rental rates to get storm victims back into stable housing.

He said a major challenge is the few number of rental properties that are currently available in Bowling Green. The American Red Cross is currently assisting about 100 individuals with temporary housing in hotels.

FEMA has processed about 3,600 applications for disaster aid from Warren County resident since the Dec. 11 tornado.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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