The two Republican lawmakers keep getting re-elected even as they shortchange their voters of assistance from Washington…
Oh, the state’s Governor IS a Democrat…
…In cases and deaths, Kentucky hasn’t been hit as hard by the coronavirus as some other states. Like most of the country, it has experienced a surge this fall, but one less severe than in neighboring Tennessee. Kentucky’s economy is reeling all the same, particularly in rural areas already struggling.
“We were in dire need of help economically to start with, before Covid,” said Matthew C. Wireman, the judge-executive of Magoffin County, an Appalachian county where the unemployment rate was 16.7 percent in October, one of the highest in the country.
The relief package passed by Congress this month and signed by President Trump on Sunday should provide help. The $600 payments to individuals, criticized by the president and many progressives as too small, would go a long way where the typical household earns less than $40,000 a year. So would the $300 weekly supplement to unemployment benefits. And the bill includes provisions meant to help rural areas, including subsidies for broadband infrastructure and help for small farmers.
But the aid would come over the objection of one of Kentucky’s Republican senators, Rand Paul, who was one of just six to vote against the package in the Senate, on the grounds that it amounted to handing out “free money.” And it would be smaller and later than it might otherwise have been because of the work of the state’s other senator, Mitch McConnell, who as majority leader fought to limit the package.
Mr. McConnell in particular worked to exclude broad-based aid to state and local governments — help that many local officials in his state say they desperately need.
A spokesman for Mr. McConnell, however, said the lawmaker had not been a hindrance and had helped lead the multitrillion-dollar federal response to the pandemic. In part because of that spending, the state’s budget and its economy have rebounded more strongly than most forecasters expected last spring.
“The compromise bill is not perfect, but it will do an enormous amount of good for struggling Kentuckians and Americans across the country who need help now,” Mr. McConnell said in a statement Sunday evening.