Barr says he wants a balanced budget whether it includes repealing Obamacare or not

10/10/2013 07:50 PM

The ultimate goal in negotiating an end to the government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling should be putting the federal government on a path to a balanced budget whether or not that includes delaying or repealing the Affordable Care Act, said U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington.

Overall, Barr called the shutdown an “unnecessary disruption caused by the politicization in Washington.” (7:15 of the interview). And he said Congress must reopen the government and avoid putting itself in a situation where the government can’t pay all it’s obligation (1:00).

Barr was asked whether he could support a spending plan/debt ceiling increase that didn’t include a provision to repeal or delay the Affordable Care Act.

“It totally depends on whether or not the final result puts the country on a path to a balanced budget,” Barr said (5:30).

In describing the way out of the stalemate, Barr paraphrased the Rolling Stones.

“In divided government, no one can get everything they want … The only way forward in divided government is negotiation and compromise,” Barr said (4:00)

But he was clear what the guiding principle will be for him and most U.S. House Republicans.

“We shouldn’t be raising the debt limit on a long-term basis without making those fundamental, structural reforms that will get the country on the path towards a balanced budget so that we can avert a debt crisis in this country,” he said (2:30), adding that such structural changes includes looking at Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. Barr said that health law has a major effect on spending over the coming decades.

Barr also addressed questions about the safety of Americans, considering regulators such as mine inspectors and food inspectors (minus those who inspect beef and poultry) have been furloughed.

“All of it concerns me, whether it’s the safety of our coal miners, whether it’s our World War II veterans not being able to access the World War II Memorial, whether it has to do with the Women, Infants and Children program and those services being disrupted, FEMA … not having the resources it needs,” Barr said (6:45).

The interview began with Barr answering a question about whether he could support the parameters of a deal proposed by Maine’s Republican Sen. Susan Collins. As Politico reported Thursday , Sen. Mitch McConnell was “taking the temperature” of lawmakers about the plan, which would extend the debt ceiling for two months, reopen the government for six months, repeal the tax on medical devices implemented by the Affordable Care Act and require means testing for anyone to receive subsidized insurance through the health care law.

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