John Yarmuth says balancing budget quickly is 'unlikely,' defends health care law

10/19/2010 08:19 PM

Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville said a realistic approach to balancing the budget would be to cut the deficit in half by 2015 as President Barack Obama has urged Congress to do. Trying to balance it immediately can only be done with “draconian cuts” to key programs.

“It’s highly unlikely you can do it” in just a few years, he said on Pure Politics.

That’s in contrast to some Republicans, such as U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul and Yarmuth’s opponent Todd Lally, who have predicted they can suggest ways to balance the federal budget within five years. Paul, however, said he won’t be able to talk about how to do it until after the election.

Yarmuth also praised the health care reform law that Congress passed in March for “stabilizing Medicare,” which had been scheduled to go underwater by 2017 and by expanding insurance coverage.

He said he did not push for a provision in the health care bill that creates a pool of money for home health care coverage. His brother, William Yarmuth, runs a home health care company called Almost Family. And the congressman owns stocks in that company.

That provision, called the “Class Act,” is a voluntary program that would allow workers to pay $65 a month into the pool to give them coverage for home health care or health-related upgrades to their home if stricken by an illness, as former Kentucky Medicaid commissioner Shannon Turner explained on Pure Politics on Monday.

Here’s the full interview:

- Ryan Alessi

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or ryan.alessi@twcnews.com.

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