politics

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

President Trump has signed a historic $2 trillion economic recovery package into law Friday afternoon, shortly after the House of Representatives approved the bill.

In an Oval Office ceremony Friday, the president thanked Republicans and Democrats "for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first" to pass the legislation. Trump was joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. No Democrats were present at the signing.

Updated at 1:39 p.m. ET

Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy wasn't interested in President Trump's attempt at Twitter-shaming another GOP lawmaker who mounted a failed attempt to drag out a vote on a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

Thinkstock

The full Kentucky legislature will return to work on Thursday even though the general public has been barred from the Capitol during the coronavirus pandemic, and despite warnings about group gatherings spreading the disease.

As of Wednesday evening, Kentucky has 198 confirmed coronavirus cases and five related deaths. The disease has spread rapidly since the state’s first case was announced on March 6.

The 138-member body did not meet over the last week, though a small group of lawmakers gathered to try and hammer out a final version of the two-year budget.

Updated at 11:47 p.m. ET

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a $2 trillion relief package Wednesday night designed to alleviate some of the worst effects of the swift economic downturn currently underway as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of the 96-0 vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told lawmakers, "Our nation obviously is going through a kind of crisis that is totally unprecedented in living memory."

Updated at 1:27 p.m. ET

A Senate agreement on a third wave of emergency funding to address the coronavirus could be "hours" away, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday, as Republicans and Democrats seemed close to bridging disagreements that have stalled a deal on the approximately $2 trillion package.

Updated 8:20 p.m. ET

The Senate reconvened Monday afternoon with a growing sense of urgency to act on pending legislation, and a growing realization that Congress will have to take dramatic, ongoing action to blunt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to the nation.

"The Senate is committed to meeting these uncertain times with bold and bipartisan solutions," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the floor Monday. "It's what we're going to keep doing in the days and weeks ahead."

Thinkstock

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is heading up the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, recommending that schools, churches and employers cease in-person activities.

Leaders of the legislature say they’re evaluating how to proceed with this year’s budget writing session.

Jonese Franklin from member station WFPL talked to capitol reporter Ryland Barton for the latest edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled.


Updated at 12:34 a.m. ET Thursday

President Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel from European countries to the United States, beginning on Friday at midnight, in a bid "to keep new cases" of coronavirus "from entering our shores."

The restrictions, he said late Wednesday, do not apply to travelers from the United Kingdom.

Updated at 9:04 a.m. ET

Joe Biden continued his impressive string of primary wins, easily besting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi and Idaho on Tuesday.

With a big delegate lead, he solidified his position as the favorite for his party's nomination to face President Trump in November. Sanders was the projected winner in North Dakota while votes were still being counted in Washington.

The results out of Super Tuesday were unexpected. Former Vice President Joe Biden rode a surge of momentum all the way to the delegate lead and is now in the driver's seat for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Kentucky LRC

Democrats in the Kentucky House of Representatives derailed a measure that would have given cash-strapped local governments more flexibility in how they raise taxes.

The proposed constitutional amendment initially had support from both parties, but in a surprise move, several Democrats decided to pass over their votes—a rare moment in which the minority party determined the outcome of a vote.

Republicans cried foul on the maneuver. Rep. Jerry Miller of Louisville noted that several of the abstaining Democrats were co-sponsors of the bill.

Thinkstock

The Kentucky House Appropriations and Revenue Committee presented its vision for the biennial budget on Thursday.

The committee presented bills for funding plans for the executive and legislative branch as well as the committee’s revenue proposal. There was no mention of major spending cuts that have characterized budgets over the past 14 years. 

Committee chairman Steven Rudy, a Republican representative from Paducah, noted that his committee’s budget proposal kept the same debt ratio of 5.3% as the governor’s, but contains some key differences. While both proposals included a 1% raise for all state employees, the governor’s budget proposed a higher raise for teachers that Republicans didn’t include.

Ryland Barton

Senate Democratic candidates seeking to unseat Majority Leader Mitch McConnell held their first primary debate of the season Thursday night in Northern Kentucky.

Military veterans Amy McGrath and Mike Broihier, state Rep. Charles Booker and mental health counselor Jimmy Ausbrooks sought to distinguish themselves and explain why they would be the best candidate to defeat McConnell in the general election in November.

Kentucky Public Radio Capitol Bureau Chief Ryland Barton moderated the debate held by Indivisible Northern Kentucky at the Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky. Barton raised questions on a variety of topics including climate change, foreign affairs and health care.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., condemned the top Senate Democrat for comments he made on the steps of the Supreme Court on Wednesday calling out Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

Appearing before a crowd of abortion-rights demonstrators, Schumer, D-N.Y., referred to the court's two Trump appointees, saying: "You have unleashed the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions."

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren ended her bid for the presidency on Thursday, acknowledging her place as the last major female candidate in the race "and all those little girls who are gonna have to wait four more years."

Pages