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McConnell touts federal funding, communication with officials for ongoing tornado recovery

Mitch McConnell speaking next to Mayfield Mayor Kathy O'Nan.
Liam Niemeyer
Mitch McConnell speaking next to Mayfield Mayor Kathy O'Nan.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell touted last year’s passage of the bipartisan infrastructure deal during a Thursday visit to Mayfield. He believes this legislation will help with the long-term recovery of the community.

McConnell said Mayfield and Graves County have made substantial progress in their recovery since his last visit in the region and that communication between authorities at multiple levels of government have been “quite good.”

The Republican senator also said last year’s American Rescue Plan Act has put state governments including Kentucky in solid financial positions. McConnell voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill but voted against the American Rescue Plan Act that provided funding for state and local governments.

“Many of these financial needs are going to be met at the state level, but it’s federal money that came down through the state through both of these two massive bills that passed in 2021,” he said.

McConnell said he’s looking to Democratic Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear to help extend the federal cost coverage of the debris cleanup across western Kentucky.

President Joe Biden earlier this month increased funding toward tornado relief efforts, allowing the state of Kentucky to choose a 30-day period within the first 120 days of the disaster to have 100% cost coverage of debris cleanup. This is on top of the first 30 days of the disaster cleanup costs being 100% covered by the federal government.

McConnell also spoke about a recent upcoming vacancy in the U.S. Supreme Court, saying he would give whoever Biden’s nominee is a “fair look.” Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced he was retiring this week after more than two decades on the court.

McConnell said he appreciated Breyer’s stance against “court packing,” or adding more justices to the court to help sway decisions made by the court.

“There’s no way to interpret court-packing other than trying to get a political outcome out of a body that’s supposed to be completely independent,” McConnell said.

"Liam Niemeyer is a reporter for the Ohio Valley Resource covering agriculture and infrastructure in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia and also serves Assistant News Director at WKMS. He has reported for public radio stations across the country from Appalachia to Alaska, most recently as a reporter for WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio. He is a recent alumnus of Ohio University and enjoys playing tenor saxophone in various jazz groups."
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