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In a speech on the Senate floor today, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell  of Kentucky will praise and welcome a group of Tea Party protesters rallying on Capitol Hill.

Politico has a preview of the speech, which comes after Senate President Harry Reid blamed the Tea Party from blocking compromises in congress.

“In my view, the tea party has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the most important issues of the day,” McConnell, of Kentucky, will say, according to prepared remarks. “It’s helped focus the debate. It’s provided a forum for Americans who felt left out of the process to have a voice and make a difference. And it’s already leading to good results.”

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul continued his book tour this week, appearing on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

The 15-minute interview (in three parts—1,2,3) covers current issues and the philosophical differences on government between Stewart and Paul. The second part, specifically, deals with the cause and effects of the recession, and whether budget crises federally and in the states are the result of government overspending or the economic slump.

About 300 people gathered in Frankfort Tuesday to protest an Arizona-style immigration bill making its way through the General Assembly.

The legislation gives local and state police broad authority to check the immigration status of people they suspect to be in the country illegally. The bill passed the GOP-controlled Senate, but faces an uncertain future in the Democratically-led House.

Senator Perry Clark of Louisville is one of the bill’s leading opponents. He says the legislation is unnecessary and expensive. The Legislative Research Commission estimated the bill would cost the commonwealth $89 million a year, primarily due to increased incarceration.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has made a few headlines (including this one) over the last week.

The freshman Republican discussed his possible interest in running for the president. He also introduced a plan to cut $500 billion from the federal budget.

Like everything Paul does, these latest steps have brought out commentaries that run the gamut from enthusiastic support to fervent detraction. It’s the budget plan, though, that’s drawing some of the most varied criticism. The blog Barefoot and Progressive (if the name doesn’t give it away, the site is often critical of Paul) has documented several of the most recent criticisms from inside Paul’s own chamber of congress. First, Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) sent Paul a letter saying the proposed cuts to the FAA would block modernization efforts, among other things. Next, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he disagrees with Paul on foreign aid.

The Hill has a rundown of Paul’s changing relationship with his colleagues. He’ll introduce one of those colleagues, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the Jefferson County Republican Party’s Lincoln Days dinner Saturday night.

Freshman Kentucky Senator Rand Paul continues his push to cut $500 billion from the federal budget.

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Paul, a Republican, spoke for the Tea Party Caucus  “Bring on the cuts! And then, bring on more!”

Paul’s budget plan would cut billions from the departments of education, housing and agriculture, among others. It puts him and his Tea Party Caucus (which is a minority in the Senate and in the GOP) at odds with both major parties, which are championing different spending plans.

Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock may declare his candidacy for the U.S. Senate later this month, drawing incumbent Republican Richard Lugar into a primary next year.

According to an e-mail sent by a Republican Party official and obtained by the Washington Post, Mourdock is planning to announce his candidacy on the 22nd.

Former Indiana Senator Evan Bayh has joined the Washington D.C. based law firm Mcguire Woods.

The move may come as a surprise, given that Bayh’s retirement was driven largely by his dissatisfaction with the Senate. According to the Wall Street Journal, Bayh will remain involved in congressional matters. Specifically, he will be a strategic adviser, largely on energy issues.

Mr. Bayh, a centrist Democrat who was a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee as well as the Banking Committee during his two terms in the Senate, likely will be spending a lot of time on banking policy as well as energy and climate-change policy.

Some of the firm’s major clients include Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., BB&T Corp. and Fifth Third Bancorp. On the energy side, clients include Dominion Resources Inc. and Progress Energy Inc. Smithfield Foods Inc. is another significant client.

In an interview, Mr. Bayh said that despite the partisan divide in Congress, action on energy and climate issues is a real possibility this year as the EPA faces the need to regulate carbon dioxide and businesses turn to Congress for certainty.

 

In what some pundits and lawmakers say is a show of unity, legislators of both parties will sit with each other during Tuesday’s State of the Union address. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, however, says the move is only for show, and he’ll sit where he usually does.

“If people want to mix it up, we don’t have seating assignments,” McConnell said. “The American people are more interested in actual accomplishments … than seating arrangements for the State of the Union.”

What are your thoughts? What do you think will be discussed more after the SotU, where people sat or the speech?

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will soon address a General Assembly committee to support a state bill that would encourage federal lawmakers to balance the U.S. budget. Historians and economists still debate whether it would be wise to balance the federal budget in poor economic times.

With the year’s news cycle slowly coming to an end, Politico has published a list of this year’s top political quotes. Wouldn’t you know it, two Kentuckians made the list.

First, Attorney General and Democratic Senate Candidate Jack Conway:

“And secondly, when is it ever a good idea to tie up a woman and ask her to kneel before a false idol, your god, that you call Aqua Buddha?”

Many of the top quotes come from Senators or Senate candidates. Kentucky’s second entry is no different:

“Excuse me! This is a senators-only elevator!” — Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning 

Tracking politicians around the halls of Capitol Hill is difficult enough; it doesn’t help when you encounter a stiff rebuke from your subject upon finally finding him or her.

But that’s what happened to ABC’s Jon Karl when he caught up with the Kentucky senator as he got into an elevator in the Hart Senate Office Building. Karl wanted to ask Bunning about blocking a bill that would extend unemployment benefits, but in just eight words, Bunning made it clear that those would be the only comments he’d be offering on the subject.

 

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