John Yarmuth

Is tight Kentucky governor’s race a sign of trouble awaiting McConnell in 2020?
Competitive red state excites Democrats, but GOP says no comparison between Bevin and Senate leader

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin stand during the National Anthem at the 2016 Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Shortly before Kentucky Gov.  Matt Bevin won his first term four years ago, he made an elaborate show of contrition to onetime rival and fellow Republican Mitch McConnell, showing a satirical video at a GOP dinner in which Bevin appeared to get a McConnell-themed tattoo.

Now Bevin is in the homestretch of a bitter reelection battle — against the state’s Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear — that is seen as a curtain raiser to McConnell’s own 2020 campaign for a seventh Senate term. And the Senate majority leader has been returning the love, working behind the scenes to boost his erstwhile antagonist, according to sources familiar with the race.

How the OMB used its powers to delay Ukraine aid
Order to withhold the funds came directly from the president

President Donald Trump alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, talks to the media on March 26, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An obscure agency with outsized sway over federal spending is at the center of the House’s impeachment inquiry into an alleged “quid pro quo” orchestrated by President Donald Trump trading domestic political aid for security assistance against a common foe.

The White House Office of Management and Budget gave the order to withhold aid to Ukraine intended to combat Russian aggression for almost two months. The decision came directly from the top, catching some administration officials as well as bipartisan majorities on Capitol Hill by surprise.

John Yarmuth, from pinup to budget wonk

Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth inspects a photo of himself as a staffer that was printed in Roll Call in 1971 as an April Fools’ joke. Yarmuth sat down with CQ Roll Call this week for an interview about his time as a staffer. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

John Yarmuth went from Roll Call pinup to Budget chairman
Kentucky Democrat started on the Hill as a staff replacement for Mitch McConnell

Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth holds a photo of himself as a staffer that was printed in Roll Call in 1971 as an April Fools’ joke. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

John Yarmuth got his start on Capitol Hill in 1971 after another young future lawmaker — Mitch McConnell — called and asked him to take his slot on the staff of their home-state senator, Kentucky’s Marlow Cook.

Now a Democratic congressman who represents Louisville, Yarmuth spoke to Roll Call recently about his early days as a Rockefeller Republican and his experience as an April Fools’ pinup for our publication.

House committee leaders demand budget documents related to Ukraine aid holdup
Letter asks OMB to provide trove of information, much of it by Oct. 1

Then-Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney prepares to testify at a hearing in April 2018. Mulvaney was one of the recipients of a letter from the House Budget and Appropriations Committees that expressed concern over possibly withholding foreign aid funds appropriated by Congress including assistance to Ukraine. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The chairs of the House Budget and Appropriations committees took the Office of Management and Budget to task Friday for possibly illegally withholding foreign aid funds appropriated by Congress including assistance to Ukraine.

In a letter to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought, Budget Chairman John Yarmuth and Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey said they are concerned OMB actions that withheld military aid to Ukraine “constitute unlawful impoundments in violation” of the landmark 1974 budget law.

Long arc of history guides John Lewis in his call for impeachment inquiry
A man who’s been beaten, bullied and jailed would know a thing or two about justice

Rep. John Lewis, left, here with, from right, Reps. John Yarmuth, Conor Lamb and Anthony G. Brown, announced his support for an impeachment inquiry Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — No one can accuse Rep. John Lewis of lacking patience. The Georgia Democrat showed plenty, as well as steely resolve, as he changed millions of minds — and history — over a life spent working for equal rights for all. So when he speaks, especially about justice, a cause from which he has never wavered, all would do well to listen.

Lewis was not the only voice raised this week, as all sides raced to place a political frame on the narrative of the undisputed fact that a U.S. president asked a foreign leader to work with him and for him to smear a political opponent, perhaps with military aid in the balance. “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it,” President Donald Trump said, according to a transcript of the conversation based on notes. He also wanted to rope in his personal lawyer and the attorney general, who, by the way, works for the American people, not Trump.

Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry, but leaves some questions
Move comes as Senate passes resolution calling for whistleblower report to be turned over

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is directly six House committees to proceed with their investigation “under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that the House will move forward with a formal impeachment inquiry, but Democrats said it was not clear what form that inquiry will take or how quickly it will lead to a decision on whether to vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

“I’m directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry,” the California Democrat said in televised remarks Tuesday after a meeting of House Democrats.  

Lawmakers to confront new post-spending caps reality
Will budget resolutions gain a new lease on life? Or is reinstating caps inevitable?

Some say the end of spending caps will give new life to the budget resolution, but House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth isn’t one of them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Starting in the 117th Congress, lawmakers will face a reality they haven’t had to deal with since 2010: the absence of discretionary spending caps for the upcoming fiscal year.

After a final stretch covering the next two fiscal years, Congress will have operated under spending caps of one form or another for three decades, with the exception of a nine-year period spanning fiscal years 2003 through 2011.

Budget caps, debt limit bill expected to pass House Thursday
A furious whip effort was underway by both parties to clinch a strong bipartisan showing on the floor

Yarmuth acknowledged a budget resolution may not happen next year either. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House lawmakers expressed confidence on Wednesday that the two-year budget and debt ceiling deal will pass in that chamber, though a furious whip effort was underway by both parties to clinch a strong bipartisan showing on the floor.

Late Wednesday afternoon, it became clear a large majority of Democrats were prepared to vote for the measure after Congressional Progressive Caucus leaders released a statement green-lighting the compromise budget caps measure.

Pelosi, Mnuchin appear close to spending caps, debt limit deal
Agreement would likely include a two-year extension of the debt limit and spending levels

Pelosi reiterated Tuesday her view that in addition to "parity" for nondefense and defense spending increases, funding should be added for Department of Veterans Affairs health care. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are close to making an announcement about spending caps and the debt limit.

“We have a clear understanding of what we want to agree to, and I think that's progress,” Pelosi said Tuesday afternoon after speaking with Mnuchin, who was preparing to leave Wednesday for the G-7 meeting in France. “We'll have an announcement about something soon, one way or the other.”