The Forward Five – Tuesday, 12/29/20

Five Things to Know Today

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The U.S. Capitol building (photo by Kevin McCoy [CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

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— Publisher’s Note —

Good morning! I hope you had just the holiday season you needed. Ours was wonderfully normal, which in 2020 is a real blessing.

After taking a few days off, I am easing back into the Forward Kentucky work, including this newsletter. I’ll do one tomorrow, and possibly on Thursday as well, depending on the amount of “things you need to know.”

For today, though, I want to point out the first story below, about the actions of the U.S. House yesterday.

Both of the votes were expected, and both were expected to pass. What was unusual was the number of Republicans voting with the Democrats on both bills.

What is even more noteworthy, though, is the quandary that these votes pose for Mitch McConnell. If he ignores the relief package, he gives the Dems a giant talking point in the Senate runoff elections in Georgia. If he brings it to a vote, he forces Republicans to either vote with the Dems or to vote against their constituents.

And then there’s the Sanders gambit, where he is saying he will block the vote on the NDAA until there is a vote on the relief checks.

So, keep the DC drama on your radar, even as you get ready for the new year. It could have all sorts of important ramifications, including how much help people get AND whether we have a Democrat-controlled Senate in 2021.

Bruce Maples, publisher
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Today’s Five Things to Know

House approves $2,000 checks, overrides Trump’s NDAA veto

The U.S. House took two important votes on Monday, approving a stand-alone bill to raise the COVID relief checks from $600 to $2,000 per person, and overriding President Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act. (Forward Kentucky)

Related: Here’s how Kentucky’s six House members voted on the increased relief package:

  • YES — Comer, Yarmuth, Rogers
  • NO — Guthrie, Massie
  • NOT VOTING  — Barr

12/28 update — Beshear says people 70 and older will be in the next phase of vaccinations

Kentucky’s threshold will be younger than in most states, because COVID-19 deaths in Kentucky are disproportionately among residents of nursing homes, Health Commissioner Steven Stack said. (Forward Kentucky)

Additional state government officials receive vaccine

More state officials had the COVID-19 vaccine administered to them at the state Capitol on Monday, including Michael Adams, Mike Harmon, and more SCOKY justices. Of note, though, was that Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles passed on the opportunity to be vaccinated, saying the dose should go to someone more in need of it. (Forward Kentucky)

Biden faults ‘roadblocks’ as his team manages transition from Trump

President-elect Joe Biden is complaining that the outgoing Trump administration has thrown up some “roadblocks” as he and advisers prepare to take the White House.

In prepared remarks Monday in Wilmington, Del., Biden said that he and his team have been frustrated by what he called a lack of cooperation, especially at the Defense Department and with the Office of Management and Budget. “All of it makes it harder for our government to protect the American people,” Biden said, calling the alleged failures of cooperation from political leaders at the agencies “nothing short of irresponsibility.” (NPR)

Internet restored after Nashville bombing downs access in dozens of KY school districts

Kentucky school districts have had their internet access restored after a Christmas Day bombing in Nashville knocked out networks across the region. The explosion damaged an AT&T building causing widespread service outages across the region including in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Indiana. The network was down this weekend for nearly 60 Kentucky school districts, along with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) offices in Frankfort, according to KDE spokeswoman Toni Konz Tatman. (WFPL)

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Recent Content on Forward Kentucky

[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥 indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both

[New] It’s time for a redistricting commission in Kentucky – It is well past the time when politicians should be allowed to be the people setting electoral districts. Kentucky — and perhaps every state — should set up independent commissions to do the job. (Policy)

[New] Why must only Democrats reach out? – I don’t think anyone would have much luck winning many converts for Team Blue in my neck of the woods where “You can’t be a Christian and a Democrat” is an article of faith. (Commentary)

[New] 12/27 update — Beshear’s Facebook post shows generally stable virus numbers – Measures of the novel-coronavirus pandemic remained generally stable Sunday, as Gov. Andy Beshear made only a Facebook post giving the day’s numbers. (News)

[New] 🔥 State rep, who downplayed virus, in ICU with COVID – A KY House member who in the past has raised doubts about the seriousness of the pandemic has been in intensive care with COVID for a week. (News)

[New] PAC files ethics complaint against incoming KY House member – Kentucky for Strong Families, a non-profit PAC, has filed an ethics complaint against newly-elected state representative Josh Bray, who will take office in January. (News)

[New] 🔥 The mob presidency: Trump pardons Republican thieves, co-conspirators, and war criminals –On Tuesday night, President Trump issued pardons to persons convicted of fraud, of lying to federal investigators, and of war crimes. And he is probably not finished. (News)

[New] Large backlog of unemployment claims unresolved, auditor reports – State Auditor Mike Harmon’s office has completed its annual audit of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, and found some serious issues with the Unemployment Insurance fund. (News)

🔥 THE CRISIS CONTINUES IN MY COVID CCU, NO END IN SIGHT – “At the end of shift my brain is tired; it’s not a head ache, it’s an exhausted brain screaming for a break.” A front-line COVID report. (Feature)

🔥 What Biden’s plan for “Building Back Better” could mean for the Ohio Valley – President-Elect Joe Biden’s sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure plan could have a profound impact in the Ohio Valley region. The plan would invest in rural broadband, clean energy industries, and struggling water systems. (Policy)

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Forward Kentucky is an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky. Our objectives are to provide journalism that is objective, policies that are effective, and commentary that is progressive. Our goal is to help Kentucky become all that it can be through government that works, for all. We are "the progressive voice for Kentucky politics."

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