FRANKFORT — Kentucky’s Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell apparently worked out a deal with Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, on Wednesday to end the federal government shutdown.
That deal couldn’t come soon enough, according to a visibly frustrated Kentucky Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, who pilloried national lawmakers for allowing the shutdown which he said has been “devastating to Kentucky families.”
“Hopefully, we will have a deal today,” Beshear told reporters after listing examples of the damage done by the shutdown, including the new Glasgow Nursing Facility. which sits empty just yards from the aging, unsafe facility it was to replace.
Beshear said the new facility can’t open because it can’t get a federal inspection which should take no more than two or three days. Instead, the shiny new facility designed to serve severely handicapped individuals sits empty just a few yards from the windows where 74 patients are housed in a crumbling, out-of-date building.
“We built it to improve care for our aged and infirm folks with behavioral disabilities,” Beshear said. “Everything is ready. The patients and their families are ready for the move from the old facility. The problem is we can’t get final license approval because federal offices have been closed.”
Beshear said he was “mad and disgusted” with the squabbling in Washington, and he didn’t hold back in his criticism when it came to McConnell.
If a deal is finalized in Washington, Beshear said, “I suppose we should be thankful that, after about three months of being missing in action, that the senator has surfaced in the last couple of days and has been participating and is helping to work some deal out.”
McConnell, the Republican Minority Leader in the Senate, has often been at the center of negotiations between the two parties and the White House. But he faces a primary challenge from tea party candidate Matt Bevin who has criticized McConnell for not standing up strongly enough against the Affordable Care Act and federal spending.