Andy Barr has served as the U.S. Congressman for Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District since January of 2013. Congressman Barr is a senior Member of the House Financial Services Committee and is Ranking Member of the National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy. In the 117th Congress, Congressman Barr also began serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and serves on the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congressman Barr has fought to deliver resources to frontline healthcare heroes, small businesses, workers and families throughout Kentucky. Congressman Barr helped craft and supported five bipartisan COVID-19 relief packages. Additionally, Congressman Barr helped devise the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), delivering over $1 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses and keeping paychecks flowing to thousands of workers and their families in the Sixth District.
In the 116th Congress, Congressman Barr served on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC). During his time on HVAC, Congressman Barr led amendments to passage expanding access for student veterans to the Edith Nourse Rogers Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Scholarship as part of the Forever GI Bill. Congressman Barr also worked to reduce veterans’ suicide by advocating for a historic expansion of equine assisted therapy (EAT) as an innovative therapy for veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other invisible wounds of war.
Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic in meeting with constituents face-to-face, Congressman Barr remains committed to his Accessibility Initiative. Congressman Barr created several constituent coalitions, such as the Sixth District Veterans Coalition and the Recovery Working Group focused on finding solutions that will help Kentucky’s veterans and combat the ongoing drug epidemic.
Congressman Barr is also focused on strengthening Kentucky’s signature bourbon, equine, coal, agriculture and manufacturing industries, and serves as co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Horse and Bourbon Caucus’. In 2020, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, championed by Congressman Barr was signed into law by President Trump. This represented the most transformational and consequential reform of the thoroughbred horseracing industry since enactment of the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 and solidifies the industry for decades to come.
Congressman Barr graduated from Lexington’s Henry Clay High School in 1992, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1996, and received his law degree from the University of Kentucky in 2001.
Additionally, Congressman Barr is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Lexington and has served on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden and President of Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky.
He and his late wife, Carol, have two daughters, Eleanor and Mary Clay.
Kentucky’s Sixth District is home to several unique, signature industries in agriculture and many farmers who work endlessly to provide our food. Agriculture plays a vital role in the prosperity of Kentucky and, yet, farmers continue to face many challenges in their industry. In Congress, I will continue to work to find solutions that improve the lives of those in our rural communities.
- Delivered almost $30 billion in COVID-19 relief directly to farmers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). CFAP was designed to provide immediate relief to farmers, ranchers, and producers during the pandemic.
- Advocated for cattle and hemp farmers to be included in CFAP in letters sent to former U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue.
- Sent letters to the USDA and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting a full investigation into possible anti-trust violations in the cattle industry.
- Cosponsored and voted for the SAFE Banking Act, which allows hemp businesses access to banking services in the United States.
Sent a letter to USDA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) asking them to temporarily amend requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic for guest-worker programs.
Cosponsored H.R. 3319, the Paperwork Reduction for Farmers and H-2A Modernization Act. This bill allows livestock, equine, aquaculture, forestry, and landscaping workers to be eligible to participate in the uncapped H-2A visa program.
- Introduced the Promoting Access to Capital in Underbanked Communities Act. The bill eases regulations for bank formation to encourage formation in underserved areas, including rural areas. The bill also makes it easier for lenders to lend to agriculture businesses in their communities. Under current law, lenders are limited in how much they can lend, as a percentage of total outstanding loans, to certain sectors, including agriculture. This bill removes those limits.
- Voted for over $7 billion for rural broadband initiatives as part of the 2020 year-end COVID-19 relief bill. That package included $300 million for the construction of rural broadband connectivity and $250 million for expanding telehealth services.
As a father of two young daughters, I recognize the importance of our nation’s education system and personally believe the most important investment we can make in our children is providing them with quality instruction and educational opportunities. To ensure that our children reach their highest potential, we must establish a system where decisions are being made by the people most directly involved in the child’s education—the teachers and the parents. Additionally, we must address the needs of our changing labor force and the high cost of education.
- Member of the Career and Technical Education Caucus
- Chaired the American Worker Task Force (AWTF) during the 116th Congress, designed to empower the American worker to “Reclaim the American Dream.” AWTF recommendations center around three pillars: refining our education system, refocus labor policy and reimagining our welfare state. You can learn more about AWTF specific education policy recommendations by clicking here.
- Congressman Barr supports funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act- the primary source of funding for state and local CTE programs.
- Cosponsored bipartisan legislation to close gaps in college student outcome data reporting in order to help prospective students determine which programs of study match their interests and career aspirations.
- Actively working to repeal the windfall elimination provision (WEP) and the government pension offset (GPO) which unfairly punish teachers who pay into both a pension and social security.
- Supports legislation that gives those closest to the students the freedom to decide what is best for their education.
- Works closely with the various Universities and Colleges in the Sixth District to secure grants and funding for their initiatives.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky relies heavily on fossil fuels, and our coal resources provide our state thousands of jobs and deliver over 83 percent of our electricity. This allows Kentuckians to enjoy some of the lowest average electricity rates in the nation. It is imperative that our country work towards energy dominance and strong economic growth and security by rolling back onerous regulations and allowing for the innovation and development of fossil fuel technology. Throughout my time in Congress I have supported legislation to do just that. My efforts to promote American energy independence and economic growth through energy dominance include:
- Adamantly and actively opposing to the Green New Deal and the elimination of carbon-based fuels from our energy grid, which would jeopardize our national and economic security.
- Just before the 2021 Earth Day Summit at the White House, I led a letter with GOP House Members to Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry raising concerns about recent reports that he was pressuring the CEOs of U.S. banks to join the Net Zero Banking Alliance. Such pressure from a senior Administration official is inappropriate, and I believe that the Administration should not weaponize the financial system to accomplish its climate change goals.
- To that end, I also led the GOP pushback to the Federal Reserve’s announcement that they would be imposing climate stress tests on banks. I sent a letter to the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in December of 2020 opposing including climate change scenarios in bank supervision stress tests. We cannot allow our banking system to become politicized.
- To develop our natural resources and protect national security, I introduced the National Security Through America’s Resources and Permitting Reform Act of 2021. This legislation would add projects related to the extraction, recovery, or processing of critical minerals, rare earth elements, microfine carbon, or carbon from coal, coal waste, coal processing waste, pre-or post-combustion coal byproducts, or acid mine drainage from coal mines to the list of “covered projects” under FAST-41, enabling the United States to decrease our dangerous dependence on China for critical minerals used to support our defense.
- Actively opposed President Joe Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords. When former President Donald Trump’s withdrew the U.S. from the unfair and unattainable Paris Climate Accords, I supported that decision whole heartedly.
- Cosponsored and voted for H.J. Res 38 which nullified the Stream Protection Rule, an onerous and job-killing regulation that would have compromised the productivity of mining operations threshold energy affordability. H.J. Res 38 was signed into law by President Trump on February 16, 2017.
- Served as Co-Chairman of the Energy Subgroup on the House of Representatives China Task Force.
- Member of the Congressional Coal Caucus.
As a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, I know that access to high quality and competitively priced financial services and products are critical to all Kentuckians. From opening a checking account, buying a car, starting a business, or saving for retirement – Americans rely on both traditional and new financial products that make our lives easier. I have been proud to lead efforts to make it access to financial products easier for Main Street businesses and the American people.
- In the 116th Congress, I serve as the Ranking Member for the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which is charged with oversight of all financial services matters, which includes conducting investigations, research and analysis of laws, government agencies and businesses.
- Supported the most pro-growth financial regulatory relief bill in a generation to our community financial institutions. Additionally, this legislative package included two of my bills – the Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act and the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.
- Served as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade.
- Congressman Barr introduced the Promoting Access to Capital in Underserved Communities Act, to improve access to financial services to underbanked areas, including rural Kentucky.
- Lead efforts to enact into law the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act to modernize the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and prevent malign Chinese investment enabling the control of technologies and infrastructure that are critical to American national security.
Expanding access to affordable, quality health care without putting bureaucrats between patients and doctors has been one of my top priorities in Congress. I speak with constituents frequently who are struggling to afford health care in Kentucky and have been forced to purchase low quality, high cost insurance that their doctor may not even accept.
That is why I have:
- Voted to close the Medicare Part D donut hole through the Bipartisan Budget Act. Because of this vote, Medicare beneficiaries will save $6.7 billion in premiums and cost sharing over the next seven years.
- Cosponsored H.R. 892, the Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act of 2021, guaranteeing protections for people with pre-existing conditions regardless of whether Obamacare is repealed.
- Cosponsored the Childhood Cancer STAR, which invested in pediatric cancer research and treatments.
- Cosponsored H.R. 3502, Protecting People from Surprise Medical Bills Act. This legislation ensures patients are not subject to costs associated with medical care that comes from emergency care. The legislation also applies to costs associated with care where a patient reasonably believed that they received care that was in-network.
- Cosponsored H.R. 2073, Protecting Medical Innovation Act of 2019, to repeal the disastrous Obamacare 2.3% Medical Device Tax.
- Cosponsored H.R. 2073, to permanently extend the 7.5% medical expense deduction.
- Voted numerous times to protect the American people from the consequences of the Affordable Care Act by supporting the American Health Care Act, which would deliver relief to families across Kentucky, increase choice, and lower costs.
- Supported the University of Kentucky’s application to renew its National Cancer Institution designation for the Markey Cancer Center.
- Supported the repeal of the individual mandate, which penalized Americans for not purchasing an insurance plan that was too expensive or they did not want.
- Signed letter to House leadership in support of robust funding for Community Health Centers in FY21 Appropriations.
- Supported policies that increase and transparency to reduce the costs of prescription drugs and medical treatments. I have also supported several pieces of legislation to delay and repeal the Affordable Care Act’s costly tax provisions that pass over $1 trillion in higher costs onto families and job creators.
- Continue to support medical research funding through the NIH, which offer researchers a vital opportunity to perform pioneering research that will ultimately cure some of the most deadly and serious diseases impacting human health, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
No industry is more synonymous with our Commonwealth than thoroughbred breeding and horseracing, which has long been a source of jobs and opportunities for the people of Kentucky. I am privileged to represent the Horse Capital of the World and I am proud to fight for its future.
- Co-Chair of the Congressional Horse Caucus.
- Introduced the bipartisan Horseracing Integrity Act since 2015 which would establish an authority to create and implement a national uniform medication program with input from the horse industry.
The United States has a proud tradition of welcoming immigrants and refugees from war-torn and economically distressed parts of the world. I fully embrace that tradition, and I believe America’s generosity in this regard is what makes our country a beacon of freedom and hope for the world. That said, the federal government’s first and primary responsibility is the safety and security of the American people. It is important that the United States continue to be that beacon of hope and offer generosity to refugees, while also taking seriously our responsibility to implement and enforce national security and immigration policies that will keep the American people safe and prevent terrorists and other bad actors from exploiting that generosity for evil purposes.
- Consistently voted to fund the construction of a physical barrier at the Southern border. Including, voting in favor of appropriating the $5.7 billion for the southern border wall, which the President and the Department of Homeland Security requested.
- Cosponsored legislation to fix immigration loopholes and keep children safe prohibiting DHS from releasing a child into the custody of any person besides a parent or legal guardian and ensuring unaccompanied alien children can be quickly and safely returned home.
- Supported legislation in several Congress’ to eliminate the sizeable backlog of prospective immigrants seeking legal permanent residence status in the U.S.
- Strong advocate for and expanded and reformed guest worker program.
- Urged House and Senate leadership, as well as the Secretary of Homeland Security to increase the sufficient number of visas to meet the needs of H2-B employers.
JOBS AND THE ECONOMY
After being hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, our country must be focused on economic growth and recovery. That is why I am advocating for policies that will strengthen small businesses, families and encourage Americans to go back to work and reclaim our way of life. Some of this work includes:
- Helped craft the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provided over $7 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses in the Commonwealth. Not only did PPP save businesses, the program kept paychecks flowing to thousands of Kentucky families.
- Cosponsoring the Help Wanted Act. Small businesses in Kentucky and throughout the United States are having a difficult time attracting employees back into the workforce due to enhanced unemployment benefits. This legislation requires every state to reinstate the “work-search” requirement for unemployment benefits and requires unemployment recipients to show proof of a job search to receive benefits. Additionally, the legislation strikes a provision from the CARES Act that allows individuals to collect unemployment if they voluntarily left their job. Finally, the legislation would prohibit the use of generic concerns about COVID-19 as a reason for turning down offers of employment.
- Fighting to maintain the Trump-era tax cuts I voted for that propelled our economy to the best jobs’ numbers in history and rising wages for the middle-class. These tax cuts doubled the standard deduction, expanded the child tax credit, and delivered a $2,051 tax cut for the average family of four in Kentucky’s Sixth District.
Our nation enjoys many freedoms thanks to the service and sacrifice of those in the Armed Forces. Supporting and investing in our National Defense is a Constitutional duty of the Federal government and a primary responsibility of the United States Congress. That is why I have been a firm supporter of our nation’s military. This includes:
- Congressman Barr led the effort for the Kentucky National Guard to be selected to receive 8 new C-130J Aircraft. The Kentucky ANG’s current squadron of eight C-130H aircraft is rapidly aging and in need of recapitalization. The new C-130J aircraft offers improved capabilities to fulfill the ANG’s missions domestically and abroad. In particular, the new model will provide the Kentucky ANG a 25% greater immediate response capability when executing its emergency and disaster response missions.
- The House adopted Congressman Barr’s Otto Wambier Sactions against North Korea in 2019. These secondary sanctions on foreign financial institutions that do business with virtually anyone that trades with North Korea, represent some of the stiffest sanctions on the Hermit Kingdom to date. The sanctions are named in honor of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died after being returned to the United States in a coma after more than a year of being held by the North Korean regime.
- Congressman Barr voted for the FY20 National Defense Appropriation Act (NDAA) which included a 3.1% raise for military servicemembers.
- Consistently supported the annual defense authorization bill that determined policies and priorities of the United States Military.
- Advancing the needs of the Blue Grass Army Depot in federal defense appropriations bills.
- Advocating for priorities of our National Guard in the appropriations process for programs like the National Guard Counter-Drug Program, aircraft recapitalization and modernization, and the National Guard Youth Challenge Program.
It is critical that Congress do more to combat the opioid epidemic, especially in our home state of Kentucky. Our Commonwealth has been hit hard by the epidemic, as we have the fifth highest overdose mortality rate in the nation. That’s why I have supported major opioid projects in the Sixth District that include:
- An $87 million federal grant to the University of Kentucky to support UK’s HEALing Communities research. This project aims to reduce opioid fatalities by 40% in three years across sixteen counties in Kentucky, including Franklin, Bourbon, Fayette, Jessamine, Clark and Madison counties in the Sixth District.
- A $511,078 federal grant awarded in December of 2020 from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to the City of Lexington to enable the city to continue services for survivors of substance abuse overdoses, which include casework management, treatment providers, housing assistance and other mental health services.
- A $433,903 federal grant awarded in October of 2020 from the DOJ for Shepherds House in Lexington. Shepherds House has over three decades of experience providing multiple recovery programs to rehabilitate dozens of people in recovery from substance abuse each year.
- Supporting the University of Kentucky’s PATHways/Beyond Birth Team application, securing a $4.9 million federal grant.
- Supporting the Chrysalis House’s grant application, securing $2.6 million to provide services to pregnant and postpartum women and their children.
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Designations:
- HIDTA designations provide additional federal resources to enhance federal, state and local collaboration to stop drug trafficking and prosecute other drug crimes.
- Since taking office, I have successfully advocated for designations to the following Sixth District counties: Madison, Montgomery, Powell and most recently Clark County in June of 2020.
- HIDTA designations are made by the White House Office of National Drug Policy (ONDCP). In October of 2020, I hosted ONDCP Jim Carroll in the Sixth District to meet with local law enforcement and discuss ways to strengthen federal, state and local partnership to enforce drug crime in Kentucky.
- The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act to empower our communities and law enforcement fight the opioid epidemic. This legislation included my bill, the CAREER Act, which addresses the decline in workforce development by encouraging local businesses and treatment centers to form partnerships to secure job training, employment, and housing options for individuals in recovery.
- In December of 2020, the Commonwealth received a $1.1 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Recovery Housing Program. This grant program was established through the CAREER Act that I championed in Congress.
SPENDING AND DEBT
After the COVID-19 pandemic, our nation will be left with over $28 trillion in debt. The current course of excessive borrowing and spending is totally unsustainable. Congress must closely examine all federal spending programs for ways to achieve cost savings. Here are some of the things I have been doing in Congress to get our fiscal house in order:
- Voted against radical socialist proposals such as the $2T Biden stimulus plan in March of 2021. This legislation was dressed up as a “COVID-19 relief bill” but less than 10% of the package was targeted towards healthcare initiatives. Instead, the bill bailed out mismanaged state and local governments.
- Support the 2021 Republican Study Committee Budget proposal, which balances the federal budget in five years. The RSC budget also cuts taxes by $1.94T and fully pays for the tax cut by slashing federal spending by $14.4T over a decade.
- Voted in support of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This reform would require the federal budget to balance unless Congress passes votes with three-fifths majorities in both the House and Senate to override the balanced budget requirement in a given fiscal year.
- Voted for the 2018 Farm Bill, which implemented reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for able-bodied adults who receive SNAP benefits to have some work requirements.
- Cosponsored the bipartisan Build for Future Disasters Act of 2021. This proposal reforms the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to end subsidies for newly constructed properties in areas vulnerable to flooding. Reforming NFIP ensures taxpayers are not footing the bill for properties constructed in dangerous flood areas.
Human life, marriage, religious freedom, these foundations of everyday life are sacred and deserve to be protected. I have consistently supported policies that promote the sanctity of human life, preserve marriage, and safe-guard religious freedoms of Americans. This includes:
- Member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus which provides important opportunities to work with other Members of Congress to promote pro-life policies.
- Supporting policies by the Administration and legislation in Congress that prevent federal dollars from going to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.
- Cosponsor legislation that would require doctors to provide medical care to infants that survive abortions.
- Cosponsored and voted for legislation that would provide services for victims of human trafficking and strengthens law enforcement tools for prosecuting human trafficking cases.
I was honored to serve on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC) during the 116th United States Congress, where I was able to impact policy in a positive way for those who have served us in uniform and protected our freedoms. Some of the highlights from my time on HVAC include:
Introducing and enacting into law amendments to the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship as part of the Forever GI Bill. These amendments lowered the credit hour requirement in the scholarship that made it more accessible to student veterans across the country. My legislation unanimously passed in the House and Senate and was signed into law by President Trump in 2019. Kentucky veterans have benefitted from this legislation by being able to take the classes needed to complete their education after their service. Employees looking to fill in demand jobs also benefit from well-educated veterans trained in STEM fields.
Leading the bipartisan Veterans Benefits Fairness and Transparency Act to passage in the House of Representatives. This bill protects veterans by requiring the VA to restore online forms used by veterans applying for disability benefits and cuts down on red tape making it easier for veterans to get the benefits they deserve.
Introducing the Military Sexual Assault Victims Empowerment (SAVE) Act, allowing survivors of military sexual trauma (MST) to receive treatment from providers they know and trust in the community.
Spearheading historic equine assisted therapy (EAT) provisions in the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act. This legislation works to better serve veterans by connecting them with mental health services in the community to prevent veteran suicide. A longtime supporter of EAT as an innovative alternative therapy, I succeeded in including my language authorizing EAT as an eligible service in this landmark veterans suicide prevention bill. I also pushed several amendments to the VA/Military appropriations bill to increase funding for EAT.
Formed the Sixth District Veterans Coalition to receive constituent input on veterans affairs related issues and legislation, and to intake casework for veterans in our district.
Should any constituent veteran have issues with the VA or need help with other issues involving a federal agency, please contact my office at 859-219-1366.
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