Congressman Andy Barr

Politics
3:04 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Kentucky Farmer Demands Congressman Andy Barr Back ‘Clean’ Bill to End Shutdown

Credit http://www.wlfarm.org

A Kentucky farmer is calling on Republican Congressman Andy Barr to support a "clean" spending bill to end the government shutdown.

The demand comes as agriculture issues such as the farm bill are being put on hold and farming advocates wonder how long federal resources and services will be pulled.

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Politics
7:10 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Acknowledging GOP Will Be Blamed, Congressman Thomas Massie Describes Shutdown as 'Not a Big Deal'

Congressman Thomas Massie, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Congress

Rep.Thomas Massie acknowledges Republicans will face the brunt of the blame if the government shuts down at midnight.

But the freshman lawmaker from Kentucky's Fourth District says constituents have told him it is "not a big deal" if certain federal agencies and functions close.

"I’m certain we'll get blamed for it," Massie told WFPL this afternoon. "But that’s also (Senate Democratic Leader) Harry Reid’s motive for running out the clock today. And they’re hoping there is a shutdown for their own political gain."

On Monday afternoon, the Senate once again rejected a House spending bill backed by Republicans, which sought to delay Obamacare by one year and repeal the medical device tax.

This was slightly different measure than an earlier GOP pitch to take out funding for the Affordable Care Act altogether.

Democrats have made it clear any efforts to undermine the health care law are a non-starter, however.

Polling figures show 46 percent of Americans would blame congressional Republicans if a shutdown takes place. The same survey finds 36 percent believe the Democrats and president would be responsible.

The political backlash isn't lost on a group of moderate House Republicans who are reportedly planning a revolt against GOP leadership and more conservative members.

Massie is part of a group in the House members who spoke with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas who strategized to oppose House Speaker John Boehner's plan. Asked about the impact on Kentucky, he told WFPL a partial shutdown will have limited real world effects.

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Politics
7:33 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Lone Kentucky Lawmaker to Vote Against $40 Billion in Food Stamp Cuts

Credit File photo

In a close vote, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a Republican-backed plan to cut food stamps by $40 billion over the next decade, which supporters say will bring sustainability to the program while saving the taxpayer's money.

Lawmakers approved the proposal by a 217-210 vote on Thursday with 15 GOP members joining the entire Democratic caucus who voted against the bill.

The cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are nearly double as much as an earlier measure rejected by the House in June.

But supporters of the assistance program argue this could have a disproportionate impact on poorer states like Kentucky, where one out of six households report facing serious problems affording nutritious food.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food stamps benefits go to around 820,000 Kentuckians per month. In the final tally, all but one of Kentucky's six representatives voted for the cuts.

"Today’s House vote to strip nearly $40 billion from federal food assistance programs directly threatens the health and financial security of the more than 44,000 Louisville families who depend on these programs to put food on their tables," says Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth, who voted against the bill. "These cuts would also needlessly weaken our economy, as every $5 spent on food assistance generates $9 in local economic activity."

But GOP lawmakers who favored the proposal drafted by Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, highlight the rise of food stamp recipients in the past five years as a need to bring solvency to the program. The argue it simply restores eligibility limits to their original levels, and maintains funding for food assistance in other areas.

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Politics
12:02 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Congressman Hal Rogers Wants 'Precise' Details Before Favoring Syria Strike

Kentucky Fifth District Congressman Hal Rogers

Kentucky's longest serving member of Congress wants more details from President Obama before supporting the administration's resolution seeking military action against the Syrian government.

"The ongoing civil war in Syria is heartbreaking, but I have great reservations about intervening in Syria," says Congressman Hal Rogers, who was first elected in 1980.

Speaking at a news conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, the president announced he will address the nation from the White House next week to make his case for intervention before the American public.

For the most part, Kentucky's federal delegates in the House and Senate are leaning against the mission. 

Congressman John Yarmuth, the lone Democrat, says he remains unconvinced by the Obama administration's argument.

Republican congressmen Andy Barr and Ed Whitfield have both voiced opposition while Brett Guthrie said via Facebook he would "listen carefully" as the administration makes its case.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has been noticeably absent from the debate. But in a recent public appearance, McConnell said he would announce his position in "the coming days."

While Rogers, who chairs the powerful appropriations committee, told WFPL he has serious doubts about the mission, the GOP lawmaker also indicated he is open to being persuaded by Obama's argument.

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Politics
12:22 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Kentucky, Indiana Lawmakers Pleased But Remain Critical of Obamacare Employer Mandate Delay

Credit Shutterstock.com

Federal lawmakers from Kentucky and Indiana are pleased with the Obama administration's decision to delay the employer mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, but Republicans argue this shows the overhaul should be repealed.

Under the law, U.S. businesses with over 50 employees must provide health insurance to their workers and was widely criticized by companies and GOP lawmakers. The mandate was scheduled to begin in 2014, but a post from the White House blog said after ongoing discussions with businesses, it will be implemented on January 1, 2015 instead.

Senators Mitch McConnell, R-Ky,, who has been a constant critic of the law, and Dan Coats, R-In., both issued statements jeering the White House's announcement as a sign the president's health care law is too costly.

Political observers quickly pointed to the decision being pushed back until after next year's mid-term elections, where it was expected to be a theme to help turnout GOP voters.

Republican Andy Barr is a freshman congressman who represents central Kentucky and ran heavily against the health care law in 2012. He says the announcement is an important temporary relief, but an acknowledgement that the Affordable Care Act— also known as Obamacare—is a "train wreck" overall.

"This a good decision for American employers and employees who are facing very costly mandates. And so while this is an important step forward we need to continue to fight to fully repeal Obamacare so that it doesn't continue to have the threat of  killing jobs," he says.

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Politics
6:54 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Congressman Andy Barr Knocks 'War on Coal' Ahead of First Lady Michelle Obama's Visit

Congressman Andy Barr, R-Ky.,
Credit Barr Campaign

Republican Congressman Andy Barr is welcoming First Lady Michelle Obama to Kentucky this weekend, but took time to criticize the White House's energy policy in the process.

The First Lady will attend the spring commencement ceremony at Eastern Kentucky University on Saturday, where she will deliver the keynote address.

Mrs. Obama is speaking at EKU as part of her Joining Forces initiative to assist military families. Long lines are expected for those seeking to attend.

Barr says he hopes the visit will give the district an opportunity to showcase its local economy including the horse industry, but took a shot at the Obama administration's environmental regulations.

"I hope the First Lady will also take back with her to Washington a better understanding of the detrimental effects of the administration’s 'War on Coal' that is raising energy prices and crippling the futures of many of the very graduates to whom she will speak," he says. "It is my sincere hope that she will benefit from her time in the Sixth District and return with a new appreciation about the need to support policies that will get Kentuckians back to work."

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Politics
2:42 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Yarmuth Praises Reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act

Congressman John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth says the passage of the Violence Against Women Act is a major victory for millions of American women.

The House reauthorized the measure with a bipartisan coalition of 199 Democrats and 87 Republicans. After months of delay and public pressure, GOP leaders surprised observers by allowing a vote on the House floor Thursday.

"I was very surprised and very pleased. I think the Republican leadership realized that this was potentially a devastating issue for them if they did not at least allow a vote," says Yarmuth

VAWA’s reauthorization means Louisville groups such as Catholic Charities and the Center for Women and Families will continue to receive federal support.

Those organizations receive about $700,000 in funding from the act, and rely on it to pay for staff positions and legal aide. About $4 million is spent on 45 similar agencies across Kentucky.

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Politics
2:30 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Kentucky Democratic Chairman: Andy Barr, Thomas Massie Embarrassed State With Sandy Relief Vote

Superstorm Sandy damage in Oakwood, N.Y.
Credit Paul Soulellis/Creative Commons

Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon is ridiculing freshman Republican Congressmen Andy Barr and Thomas Massie for voting against aid for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Last Friday, Congress approved a $9.7 billion package to help homeowners, renters and businesses pay for flood insurance claims caused by the hurricane. The Republican-controlled House passed the measure with overwhelming bipartisan support in a 354-to-67 vote.

In a telephone interview, Logsdon tells WFPL that Barr and Massie's actions have embarrassed Kentucky, adding natural disasters shouldn't be used to make a point about federal spending.

"It shouldn't be politicized. When our neighbors need help we should give them help. When a natural disaster occurs the rest of us should want to help that affected region," he says.

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Politics
1:10 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Barr Lands Key Committee Assignments

Congressman-elect Andy Barr
Credit Barr Campaign

Kentucky Sixth District Congressman-elect Andy Barr announced his committee assignments Thursday.

Barr will be a member of the House Committee on Financial Services, which is led by fellow Republican Spencer Baucus. The financial services panel is considered a "top-tier," committee that dealt directly with the bank bailouts and crafted the controversial Dodd-Frank Act.

In a news release, Barr says he is honored to receive the appointment, and wants to work on solving  helping the state's community banks.

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