As expected, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell was chosen Thursday by Republican members to be the next Senate majority leader.

The vote was unanimous, according to the senator's office. McConnell officially takes up the post in January.

He becomes only the second Kentucky senator to hold the post. (The first was Democrat Alben Barkley, who was majority leader in the late 1930s and early '40s and later served as vice president under President Truman.)

Leach on Congressional Campaign, Minimum Wage

Apr 18, 2014

The man hoping to be the first Democrat to represent Kentucky’s second U.S. House seat since 1994 says he decided to run for Congress while overseas. Ron Leach is a retired Army major and former special forces medic who lives in Meade County.

With the possibility of a federal shutdown only hours away, government agencies have produced detailed contingency plans of how the shutdown would affect their operations as well as services in our listening area. 

If Congress cannot pass  a spending bill by midnight, most federal agencies will tell non-essential government employees to stay home on Tuesday. However, a few entities are considered essential programs and will continue to operate under mandatory spending. 

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The Kentucky agency that oversees the federal nutrition program, formally known as food stamps, is critical of a piece of Congressional legislation to cut billions of dollars from the program. In western Kentucky, more than 42,000 households in the 1st congressional district receive financial assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.

Kentucky Community Health Services Assistant Communication Director Gwenda Bond said any SNAP benefit reduction will hurt those using assistance to help meet their nutrition needs. 


U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield (KY-01), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, said he's secured $265 million dollars from an Energy and Water federal spending bill for clean up of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, but that measure still has to pass the Senate. The announcement came in a press release from his office Thursday. 

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U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says his recent trip to Israel mission was meant to prove he is an ally of the Middle Eastern nation. Many pro-Israel groups are wary of the senator, because of his calls to reduce foreign aid.

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Hours after the Supreme Court upheld the health law Republicans were preparing for the repeal vote. By some counts it’s the thirty first time the House has voted to repeal all or part of the law.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Congress has authorized West Kentucky’s Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge to expand by more than 34,000 acres. The expansion would leave the refuge about four times larger than its current size. Refuge Manager Michael Johnson says the new land would give the refuge a chance for major improvements. He says,

“We can provide better recreational opportunities, we can do a better job protecting and managing the wildlife that’s in this area. And we have this chance with this plan, which is kind of what I see as a one shot deal to get things, what I call, ‘Right.’”