An outspoken Kentucky Democrat is directing an unusually pointed attack at a member of his own delegation. And not just any member — the single biggest target.
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) laid in to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a letter delivered last week for misleading their mutual constituents about the facts and benefits of President Obama’s health care law.
And in a follow-up interview, Yarmuth again attacked McConnell, his former ally, for putting partisan politics before representing the people of his state.
“I’ve known Mitch for 40 years,” said Yarmuth. “We were political allies at one point. I was a Republican ‘til 1985. In recent years, as I’ve said publicly before, he has a considerable knack for being scrupulously accurate and rarely honest.”
In this instance Yarmuth is referring to an op-ed McConnell wrote in the Louisville Courier-Journal. In his letter, Yarmuth calls into question five claims McConnell made in the op-ed. And he wants McConnell to address his concerns.
McConnell’s spokesman declined to comment.
“His constituents are my constituents. It irks me when he’s misleading them,” Yarmuth said. “There are about 15,000 small businesses that could be eligible for a tax credit in my district. Only 530 or so have taken advantage of it. And I know that’ s because they’re convinced it’s terrible for small businesses. And that’s not accurate.”
Yarmuth has never taken such a public tack against McConnell. But unlike Yarmuth, McConnell’s not up for reelection this year, and this is a blunter-than-usual way of pressuring him not to be so partisan.
“He’s just become such a total reflexive partisan politician, he’s playing a different role, and it’s not necessarily being a senator from Kentucky,” Yarmuth said. “He’s become totally detached from any obligation to be remotely fair and honest.”
Read Yarmuth’s letter below.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.