Mitch McConnell

Ryland Barton

Kentucky’s top Republican and Democrat in Washington both voted for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, but they diverge on whether to move forward with a more expansive social spending package put forward by President Joe Biden.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth are central players in the battle over the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better plan, which includes funding for universal pre-K, another year of the expanded child tax credit, affordable housing and health care and combating climate change.

Yarmuth is the chair of the U.S. House Budget Committee and one of the bill’s main architects. McConnell is the chief signal caller of the effort to block it in the evenly-divided Senate.

Both saw signs supporting their causes in the outcome of last week’s gubernatorial election in Virginia.

Ryland Barton

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell celebrated the passage of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Monday, saying it could pave the way to fix the aging Brent Spence Bridge connecting northern Kentucky to Ohio.

McConnell was the only member of Kentucky’s Republican congressional delegation to vote in favor of the measure when the Senate passed it in August. Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth, of Louisville, also voted in favor of it.

“I was delighted the House finally found a way to pass the infrastructure bill last week,” McConnell said in Covington on Monday. “This will be the first time I have come up here in a quarter of a century where I thought maybe there was a way forward on the Brent Spence Bridge.”

The bridge connecting Covington to Cincinnati is a major artery on the I-71/75 corridor and has been in need of repairs for years. The Federal Highway Administration declared the bridge functionally obsolete in the 1990s.

Jess Clark | WFPL

There is no partisanship on the U.S. Supreme Court — that’s the message Associate Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett wanted audience members to take away from her talk Sunday afternoon at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville. Barrett was the guest speaker for a 30th anniversary celebration for University of Louisville’s McConnell Center.

“My goal today is to convince you that the Court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks,” Barrett said before an audience of a couple hundred invited guests. She argued justices are driven by their judicial philosophies rather than partisan ideologies. 

Her comments come after a controversial Supreme Court ruling refusing to block a Texas law that prevents abortions after six weeks. 

Barrett described herself as an “originalist.”

Lisa Autry

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says President Biden will not be impeached over his withdrawal from Afghanistan, despite calls from some Republican colleagues. 

Speaking in his home state on Thursday, McConnell urged voters to hold the president accountable in next fall’s mid-term elections. 

During a stop in Glasgow, the Senate minority leader called President Biden’s withdrawal and evacuations from Afghanistan "incompetent."  McConnell noted Congress is run by Democrats and said voters angry with Biden should respond at the polls.

“I think the president needs to be held to account, and of course the way we have accountability in this country is called elections, and they’ll be an election next fall," stated McConnell. "Typically, the election two years into any administration, is a referendum on how they’re doing.”


Ryland Barton

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is calling the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan an “unmitigated disaster.”

During a press conference in Louisville on Monday, McConnell blamed Democratic President Joe Biden for recent chaos as the Taliban assumes control of the country and U.S. officials attempt to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies.

McConnell defended the 20-year occupation of Afghanistan, saying it was “essential” to keep the country from becoming a haven for terrorists.

“Not because there was any realistic hope some Western-style Democratic government was going to emerge in Afghanistan, but because we went there because it was in our own national interest,” McConnell said.

The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to invest $1 trillion in the nation's infrastructure, including the electric grid and broadband access.

The 69-30 vote was bipartisan, following weeks of talks that included the White House and a group of Democratic and Republican negotiators. Nineteen Republicans joined the Democratic caucus to pass the legislation.

Lisa Autry

Demand for vaccines has decreased in recent weeks and less than 50% of the U.S. population is full vaccinated.

While in Bowling Green Thursday, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continued to encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

During a Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce meeting, McConnell said the nation hasn’t reached the level of vaccination he’d like to see.

If you're a football fan, we're sort of in the red zone, the last 20 yards before the end zone, but not yet in the end zone on getting people vaccinated," McConnell said. "I hope even though we are all back to normal now, we'll still try to encrouge people to get the vaccination."

Yasmine Jumaa

Kentucky has the third highest increase in unemployment claims nationally ━ according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of labor ━ with 9,172 new filings. 

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell met with state business officials Monday to talk about Kentucky’s post-pandemic economic recovery. He said the extra $300 in federal benefits is the reason fewer people are returning to the workforce.

“There’s no question that we’d be in better shape if the governor had made a decision to discontinue the federal bonus as 25 other states have,” McConnell said. “I was on a conference call with a group of companies ━ some in Kentucky and some in Indiana ━ and they reported that when the Indiana governor discontinued the extra $300 [per] week bonus, the next day, they got 200 job applications.”

Updated May 19, 2021 at 6:53 PM ET

The House has passed a bipartisan plan to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, despite significant opposition from Republican lawmakers.

The vote was 252-175, with 35 Republicans joining all Democrats.

Becca Schimmel

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he won’t support President Joe Biden’s $4 trillion infrastructure package, expressing worries about overspending and the national debt.

And while McConnell says he’s in favor of some form of infrastructure plan, he’s adamantly against undoing any of the tax cuts passed by Republicans in 2017, which significantly added to the national debt.

During a news conference in Louisville on Monday, McConnell criticized the president’s plan to fund the plan by scaling back tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals.

“We’re not going to be revisiting the 2017 tax bill. We’re happy to look for traditional infrastructure ‘pay-fors,’ which means the users participate,” McConnell said.

Ryland Barton

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he doesn’t think the year enslaved Africans were first brought to colonial America is one of the most important points in U.S. history.

McConnell made the comments Monday when asked why he sent a letter to the U.S. Education secretary, calling for the New York Times’ 1619 Project to not be included in school-related federal grant programs.

“There are a lot of exotic notions about what are the most important points in American history. I simply disagree with the notions the New York Times laid out there that the year 1619 was one of those years,” McConnell said during a news conference in Louisville.

Sydney Boles

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized President Joe Biden’s proposals to expand infrastructure, boost renewable energy and fund pre-kindergarten, all of which he outlined in his first address to Congress on Wednesday.

During the speech, Kentucky’s senior Republican senator got a shout-out from the Democratic president for naming a cancer research bill after his late son, Beau Biden, but McConnell still panned the address as a “lengthy liberal daydream.”

On the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell accused Biden of “imposing a vision” on the country and not seeking out support from Republicans.

“The president talked about unity and togetherness while reading off a multi-trillion-dollar shopping list that was neither designed nor intended to earn bipartisan buy-in,” McConnell said.

Lisa Autry

Mitch McConnell is acknowledging his hand in restricting Gov. Andy Beshear’s ability to fill a vacancy in the event that one of the state’s U.S. Senators dies or leaves office early. 

During a stop in Bowling Green on Tuesday, Sen. McConnell said he’s “not going anywhere,” but  suggested legislative leaders change Kentucky law to limit the governor's power to appoint someone to temporarily take over for a senator until voters can elect a successor.  Lawmakers over-rode Democratic Governor Andy Beshear’s veto of the bill. 

While his office previously said McConnell supported it, the 79-year-old senator said on Tuesday he actually recommended the rule change.

“I had watched over the years the way Senate vacancies are filled in different states," McConnell told WKU Public Radio. "I thought the worst way to fill it was the way Kentucky law set it up so the governor alone picks somebody who can serve a fairly lengthy period of time before there’s an election.”


Updated at 12:22 p.m. ET

In her time as former President Donald Trump's transportation secretary, Elaine Chao repeatedly used her position and agency staff to help family members who run a shipping business with ties to China, in potential violation of federal ethics laws, according to an Office of Inspector General report.

In a highly personal attack, former President Donald Trump blasted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling him an unfit leader of the Republican Party.

"The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political 'leaders' like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm," Trump said in a lengthy statement Tuesday.

"Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again," he added.

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