U.S. Senate Chatter: McConnell tries ACA delay to fund unemployment extention, Marksberry says Grimes camp tried to pay him off

01/07/2014 12:12 PM

The U.S. Senate advanced a bill Tuesday to extend unemployment benefits for three months without Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s amendment to delay by a year the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

Before the 60-37 vote on the bill to extend the unemployment insurance, McConnell took to the Senate floor to propose the amendment that he said would pay for the three-month extension by suspending the health law’s individual mandate for a year.

Republicans congressional leaders McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner have said they would be willing to pass the unemployment measure if it included a way to cover the $6.5 billion cost.

McConnell said Tuesday that passage without a funding mechanism is just another Washington Band-Aid.

“Yes, we should work on solutions to support those who are out of work through no fault of their own. But there is no excuse to pass unemployment insurance legislation without also finding ways to create good, stable, high-paying jobs – and also trying to find the money to pay for it. So what I’m saying is, let’s support meaningful job creation measures, and let’s find a way to pay for these UI benefits so we’re not adding to an already unsustainable debt,” McConnell said.

However, U.S. Senate Democrats objected to amendments from either side of the aisle. In effect, funding the unemployment insurance won’t be included in the budget unless the House passes one.

McConnell files for re-election

McConnell officially filed his papers for re-election Tuesday.

The McConnell campaign released a new video—titled “United”— about the Senator filing for his sixth term in office that includes comments by U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

“What allows him to be the most powerful Republican up there is that he can pull people together,” Paul said in the video. “United on Obamacare, united on a balanced budget amendment.”

Independent candidate claims foul play

The campaign of Democratic U.S. candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is denying claims by Democrat-turned-independent candidate Ed Marksberry says the Grimes campaign tried to buy him out of the race.

In a 15-page letter to Page One , Marksberry explains that he struck a deal with someone close to Grimes’ father, Jerry Lundergan, to drop out of the race if they would agree to find a spot on their campaign for his campaign manager and pay off his web designer debt.

Here is a section of the letter by Marksberry where he describes a face to face meeting about the deal reached:

Their words; “They want to ask you to step out of the race and they understand you have some debts with your campaign and they can take care of it if you want, the money is there and they can make it happen if you want to.”

I leaned way back and looked at the ceiling, right then I knew what I had to do.

I said, “it’s not about the money, it’s the principal”

They (the person) said “you don’t know how much pressure we’ve been getting to get you (me) out of this race, a ton of pressure”.

Here we go again with either the KDP or Alison’s camp putting pressure and stress on others to get me out of the race.

In a statement to Pure Politics, the Grimes campaign dismissed Marksberry’s claims of wrong doing.

“That did not happen. We appreciate Ed’s support and wish him the best,” said a Grimes campaign official. “The Democratic party has very much united around our campaign. Momentum continues to build around the campaign, underscoring the fact that Kentuckians are overwhelmingly ready for a U.S. Senator who will fight for them.”

The full letter from Marksberry describing his interactions with Allison’s father, Jerry Lundergan, and Grimes campaign members can be accessed by clicking the link above.

Jacqueline Pitts

Jacqueline Pitts joined the cn|2 political team in June 2012. A graduate of WKU, Jacqueline grew up in Nashville, TN and is looking forward to having a front row seat to Kentucky politics. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqueline_cn2. She can be reached at 502-792-1114 or jacqueline.pitts@twcnews.com.

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