Phillip M. Bailey

Phillip M. Bailey became WFPL's political editor in 2011, covering city, state and regional campaigns and elected officials. He also covers Metro Government, including the mayor's office and Metro Council. Before coming to WFPL, Phillip worked for three years as a staff writer at LEO Weekly and was a fellow at the Academy of Alternative Journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

 

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Government Shutdown 2013
6:48 am
Thu October 17, 2013

McConnell-Reid Deal Includes $3 Billion Earmark for Kentucky Project

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 8:45 pm

A proposal to end the government shutdown and avoid default orchestrated by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Harry Reid includes a nearly $3 billion earmark for a Kentucky project.

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Politics
11:06 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Surpasses Mitch McConnell in Latest Fundraising Total

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 10:59 am

The campaign to elect Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes announced Tuesday it raised over $2.5 million in the third quarter, topping Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell's fundraising totals for the same period.

Over the past three months Grimes received support from all 120 Kentucky counties and all 50 states with around 13,300 contributors, which is more than twice the number of McConnell's donors.

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Politics
1:47 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Senator Mitch McConnell Hauls in $2.3 Million for Re-Election

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 1:29 pm

In Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, the campaign to re-elect Republican Leader Mitch McConnell announced Friday it raised $2.3 million in the past three months.

This represents McConnell's strongest quarter to date as the incumbent seeks a sixth term in office. 

Overall McConnell has garnered a total of $17.7 million towards next year's election and will report just under $10 million in cash on hand.

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Government
11:39 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Hot Mic Catches Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul Discussing Shutdown Talking Points

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 11:53 am

As a growing number of Americans disapprove of the federal government shutdown, a "hot mic" conversation Wednesday night caught Kentucky Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul discussing how the GOP can avoid blame.

Speaking to McConnell in the midst of Capitol Hill interviews, Paul says if Republicans were to pivot from de-funding President Obama's health care law to seeking an overall "compromise" the GOP will "win this."

McConnell can be heard concurring with Paul that it is bad politics for Democrats to say they won't negotiate, but a recent CBS News survey shows most Americans are still blaming the GOP for the shutdown.

Watch:

It is certainly a raw politics moment for Kentucky's two U.S. senators, who have forged an alliance in recent years.

The campaign to elect U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is pouncing on the conversation, calling it a cynical approach in the face of the shutdown's real world impact.

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Politics
3:16 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Two Kentucky Lawmakers Highlight Government Shutdown's Effects on Kentucky Women

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 3:21 pm

Kentucky state Reps. Joni Jenkins and Mary Lou Marzian are highlighting the effects of the federal government shutdown on women.

The two Democrats were in Washington, D.C., this week meeting with lawmakers and hope Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will keep those adverse impacts in mind as potential negotiations begin.

"Certainly the furloughing of employees—half of those or more are going to be single females who are heads of families—and I don't know how many of your listeners can go without paycheck for a day, a week or possibly longer," said Jenkins, whose district covers parts of western Jefferson County. "That money not coming into our communities is going to trickle down to all sorts of businesses."

Beyond federal workers there is growing concern about social services that could be impacted.

Almost 9 million new mothers and young children rely on programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children or WIC. But federal officials have warned funding for WIC could run out in the next week or so.

Observers expect the shutdown to last at least that long even as President Obama is inviting congressional leaders, including McConnell, to the White House Wednesday afternoon to possibly negotiate.

Marzian says the shutdown is a disaster for women on a number of fronts and low-income mothers in particular, adding the blame should be on Tea Party-backed Republicans in the House.

"It's going to really effect women being able to feed their families and pay their rent as these programs run out of money in the next weeks," she says. "But the Tea Party and these right-wing Republicans care nothing about women and children. They only care about themselves and pushing their agenda forward. However, they care about fetuses but once you’re here you’re on your own."

Last year, over 132,000 pregnant women and new mothers in Kentucky received nutrition assistance through WIC programs for their young children.

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Politics
11:44 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Says Mitch McConnell is 'Missing in Action' on Shutdown Negotiations

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 2:44 pm

Calling the looming government shutdown a "reckless Republican" strategy, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is accusing incumbent U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., of watching from the sidelines.

The budget impasse in Washington is expected to continue when the Democratic-controlled Senate rejects a House measure this afternoon.

If a deal isn't reached the federal government will close on Tuesday at 12:01 a.m.

At issue is implementation of President Obama's health care law, which Republican want to delay for one year. But that is considered a non-starter in the Senate and for the Obama administration.

In the meantime, the Grimes campaign is going on the offensive against McConnell by highlighting how a shutdown would impact Kentucky.

The news release points out a shutdown would close centers for 16,000 children who attend Head Start, delay payments for U.S. military service members and furlough 25,000 federal employees in the state.

Grimes says McConnell needs to be more involved in the negotiations while reminding supporters about the GOP leadership's split with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

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Government
11:22 am
Fri September 27, 2013

In New York Times Op-Ed, Governor Steve Beshear Says Kentucky Needs Obamacare

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 2:37 pm

In a robust defense of Obamacare, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says the state's health care needs come before the divisive partisan politics to defund the law in Washington.

The op-ed in The New York Times on Friday continues Beshear's arguments in favor of the law, which is set to be implemented beginning Oct. 1.

In Kentucky, nearly one in six are uninsured and the state ranks at the bottom of nearly every major health measure.

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Politics
8:08 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Tea Party Nation Reconsidering Endorsement of McConnell Over Cruz's Anti-Obamacare Plan

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 1:16 pm

In the midst of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's lengthy floor speech against the president's health care law, a tea party group is having second thoughts about endorsing GOP Leader Mitch McConnell for re-election next year.

Earlier today, McConnell rejected Cruz's plan to filibuster the House spending bill which funds the government past Oct. 1 but does not pay for Obamacare.

"We'd all be hard pressed to explain how we're against a bill we're all in favor of," McConnell told reporters.

But as a number of high-profiled conservatives—such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus—have come out to support Cruz's floor speech, the Tea Party Nation that backed McConnell in July is publicly reconsidering that decision.

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Government
12:36 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Urging Senate Democrats to Join Defund Obamacare Fight, McConnell Rejects Cruz's Plan

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:46 am

Speaking on the Senate floor, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell cut ties with Sen. Ted Cruz's threat to use a filibuster against a bill with language defunding the president's health care law.

Facing increasing criticism from conservative groups and a primary opponent, McConnell argued Senate Democrats need to join the effort in order to take out funding for Obamacare while avoiding a government shutdown.

"I just don’t happen to think filibustering a bill that defunds Obamacare is the best route to defunding Obamacare," McConnell said. "All it does is shut down the government and keep Obamacare funded. And none of us want that."

The House passed a spending measure to fund the federal government past Oct. 1, but it does not pay for the Affordable Care Act.

Cruz is urging the GOP caucus to vote against that legislation because Democrats have indicated they will amend it to restore the health care law's funding. He argues any vote to bring the bill to the Senate floor is in effective supporting Obamacare as a whole.

Rather than focus on GOP infighting, McConnell proposed Democrats ought to join the effort to defund the law by having a simple majority vote on the House bill.

"Democrats have been hearing the same complaints about Obamacare the rest of us have. The spotlight should really be on them. This is a rare opportunity to defund the law with a simple majority. We should have that vote," he said.

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Politics
1:15 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Senate Democrats Blocking McConnell's Coal Bill Puts Alison Lundergan Grimes in Tough Spot

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 2:31 pm

The pro-coal message of Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes was complicated by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on Thursday, who blocked a bill introduced by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to ease federal regulations.

Reid's actions comes just days after Grimes called on the Obama administration to hold off on new environmental restrictions.

Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell asked for unanimous consent on his  "Saving Coal Jobs Act" to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing carbon emission standards for power plants.

"The EPA has already stifled the permitting process for new coal mines; the agency has done this so dramatically that they have effectively shut down many coal mines through illegitimate, dilatory tactics," McConnell said. "The EPA’s actions ignore the thousands of people in my home state of Kentucky who depend on the coal industry for their livelihoods."

Reid quickly objected to delay the bill while promising to hold a vote at a later date despite McConnell's urgency that the measure is needed now ahead of new EPA emission standards this week.

A coal industry leader had already raised doubts about Grimes being a more effective voice for Kentucky coal operators and miners than McConnell. But Reid's maneuvering raises further questions about whether Grimes can stand up to the Democratic leader while relying on him politically to unseat McConnell.

"Alison isn't afraid to stand up to members of either party," a Grimes campaign aide told WFPL. "She will stand up for Kentucky as its next U.S. Senator. When she is in the Senate she will get things done on behalf of Kentucky's working families. Today just underscores McConnell's weakness and ineffectiveness. His influence isn't working and he's unable to deliver for the people of Kentucky."
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