Taking a quantitative look at Rep. John Yarmuth's record

09/11/2018 04:59 PM

LOUISVILLE – In a new segment, Pure Politics will be looking at the bills Kentucky’s federal lawmakers have filed and passed into law.

Passing laws is just a small part of a Congress person’s job, and often even when they do have a bill, that bill will be rolled into a larger bill and move through Congress that way. However, this is a quantitative way to look at the work legislators have been doing, and also what sort of bills they have been showing interest in.
To research that, Spectrum News used the non-partisan website, GovTrack and then double-checked those figures on Congress’ website.
Representative John Yarmuth first joined Congress in 2007. Unlike some of Kentucky’s other Congress people, Yarmuth’s bills are somewhat varied. The Louisville Congressman has sponsored just about equal legislation on education, government operations, international affairs, families and health.
In his 11 years in Congress, the Democratic Congressman has sponsored 68 bills.
Of those bills, 2 were made into law as stand-alone bills, not rolled into another, larger ,bill.
Of those two, House Bill 5524: Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act of 2008 gave more money and changed requirements for programs supporting homeless youth and their families.
Yarmuth’s other one bill made into law, H.R. 4454, was to designate a special post office in Louisville to honor fallen military from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In an interview, Yarmuth explained how those numbers don’t represent all of the work he has done in the past 10 years.
He explained, “Often times, you propose a piece of legislation and it’s incorporated into a larger bill. For instance, I had four or five different bills that were incorporated into the Higher Education Act at one point, dealing with literacy, student success and veterans’ programs, so all of those were my proposals, but you won’t see my name on them because they were Amendments.”
In another example, Yarmuth said, “One of the things I’m proudest of, is back right after the auto manufacturers were having very hard times, I asked Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to come down here, and she came down to Louisville. We went to the Louisville assembly plant, met with Ford executives from all over the country, and out of that came a proposal to create a low-interest loan program which Nancy then supported and I was championing. It resulted in Ford getting enough money to re-tool the Louisville assembly plant, which now makes all the Ford Escapes in the country and employees three-thousand more people than it did.”
Yarmuth continued, saying “There’s a similar bill that I introduced that went into an energy bill to create a tax credit for manufacturers who made energy efficient appliances in the United States. When that was passed, General Electric at the time, brought a new line of hybrid water heaters from China back to the United States and employed 400 more people.”
Yarmuth concluded, “There are a lot of legislative accomplishments that I and others have that won’t have our names on them because they were part of a larger piece of legislation.
As for how often Rep. Yarmuth votes with President Trump, the website 538.com calculated that he does it about 20 percent of the time, or 17 times.
Quite a few of those were related to addressing the opioid crisis and also relief from natural disasters. Other times were funding extensions that helped stop government shutdowns. Yarmuth says when he agrees with something he votes that way regardless of who else may agree or disagree. He explained, “A lot of things go into votes. Sometimes, there are provisions that the President supports that probably got 420 votes out of the House, so they were virtually unanimous votes.” Smiling, Yarmuth said, “That’s what would have probably accounted for most of those 17 votes. They were either things that were non-controversial, or they were things that Democrats and Republicans worked very, very closely together on.” Giving an example, Yarmuth said, “When I was on the Energy and Commerce Committee for instance, we passed a bill called 21st Century Cures Act which is a phenomenal new approach to medical research, and that passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee 52 to nothing. There may have been one or two votes against it on the floor, but President Trump supported that. So, that’s an example of how that happens.”
With a smirk, Yarmuth added “There are very few things that President Trump and I agree on substantively.” More seriously, he finished, “But occasionally, we can come together and pass something that has virtually universal support.”
This segment will continue all week on Pure Politics.


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