Posts Tagged ‘government shutdown’

Debate Versus Discussion

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Often on Kentucky Tonight, I ask our guests to have clearly defined positions on the topic under discussion. I want them to explain, in detail, the reasoning that brought them to their opinions, and then be prepared to defend their thinking. I encourage them to be enthusiastic and passionate about the viewpoint they have so very carefully studied.

It doesn’t always work out that way. The show is sometimes more successful when the guests discuss rather than debate – when the dialogue is more reasoned than raucous.

Last night, our conversation began with a question about how the political wrangling of the past few weeks might shape the American system of government in the future. Did the 16-day shutdown irreparably harm Washington and the country?

Was Senator Mitch McConnell, who joined Harry Reid to craft the deal that reopened the government and temporarily raised the debt ceiling, correct when he said on Face the Nation that divided government provides an opportunity to tackle important legislation?

Will the threat of another federal shutdown and debt-ceiling showdown early next year change how this Congress and president operate?

Monday night, all of our panelists weighed on those questions with sound judgment and thoughtful logic.

Here We Go Again!

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

As I write this, the atmosphere in Washington is electric with speculation about the debt ceiling and the lingering federal government shutdown. Yesterday, the Senate, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was in the spotlight with a plan. Today, House Republicans are proposing their own package to open the government, lift the debt ceiling, and make several changes to the Affordable Care Act. It’s anyone’s guess whether this plan can pass the House, much less mesh with the Senate’s plan or gain the president’s approval.

Monday night on Kentucky Tonight, we had our own electricity in the KET studios with two former Kentucky Congressman debating these issues from the opening bell.

Same Story, Same Verse

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

A week into the government shutdown, and nine days until the debt ceiling will be reached, there’s not a lot of “new” coming out of Washington.

All sides remain at a standstill. At the moment, no talks are scheduled between any of the key players. Congressional Republicans and Democrats are still on the floor of the House of Representatives making their five-minute speeches on C-Span. Senators are giving occasional interviews on cable news channels to express their viewpoints. As this column comes together, President Obama is talking – to the White House press corps.

In other words, nothing appears to be happening to move the federal government out of shutdown mode.

At the heart of all of this is the Affordable Care Act.

On Kentucky Tonight Monday, our panel debated the three-year-old law almost as if it had not passed both houses of Congress and been signed by the president. Even though parts of the law are already in place, and health insurance exchanges like our state’s Kynect program are signing up people for coverage, opponents of “Obamacare” continue to pound away at the law and find flaws with its implementation.

Our guests last night were State Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, vice chair of the House Budget Review Subcommittee on Human Resources; Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, vice chair of the House Health and Welfare Committee; Dr. Peter Thurman, medical director at Family Health Centers in Louisville; and Dr. Ralph Alvarado, an internist and pediatrician in Winchester.

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