Cantor pledges help fighting drugs, says House won't threaten government shutdown over 'Obamacare'

08/13/2012 07:52 AM

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said during an interview with Pure Politics on Thursday night that the U.S. House would commit resources to fighting the scourge of drugs through under-cover agents and more federal law enforcement resources.

Cantor headlined a fund-raising event in Louisville for Republican congressional candidate Andy Barr, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler of Versailles.

Barr said he understands how devastating of a problem addictive painkillers and methamphetamine remain in Kentucky, especially the eastern part of the state which is partially covered by the 6th District. Barr didn’t offer specific proposals, but Cantor said during the interview that aired Friday night that “if it is a priority for Andy Barr, I will assure you it will be a priority for our leadership.” (3:00 of the first video).

And while some House Republicans have asked their leaders to block the funding for implementing the Affordable Care Act, Cantor said he and House Speaker John Boehner said they won’t risk a government shutdown this fall in order to prevent that funding. (4:30)

Cantor also discussed the Republicans’ wish-list for health care reform if they succeed in repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Meanwhile, Congress is expected to deal with tax rates later this year as the tax cuts passed during President George W. Bush’s first term are set to expire.

The presidential candidates have offered vastly different plans with President Barack Obama’s proposal set to raise taxes by $189,000 on individuals who earn $1 million a year, according to the Tax Foundation. That would be the largest increase in the tax burden on the wealthy since World War II.

Republican candidate Mitt Romney has proposed eliminating tax breaks but lowering tax rates. An American who earns $1 million a year would pay $87,000 less in taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center. But, as Politifact noted, middle class families could see a $2,000 increase in their tax bill because Romney’s plan would eliminate tax breaks, such as on mortgage debt.

So Cantor was asked whether Congress can find some middle ground between those two proposals.

Barr has had several high-ranking Republican officials to Kentucky to help him raise money against Chandler. While the Barr campaign didn’t release a total raised at Thursday night’s event, campaign manager Pat Melton said only the event in June featuring House Speaker John Boehner brought in more money.

Chandler’s campaign manager, Eric Nagy, dismissed the significance of Cantor’s criticism of the congressman.

“It’s not surprising that Cantor was here,” Nagy said. “The 6th district is going to be under attack from radicals all over the country. With Social Security and Medicare so important in this region, it’s unbelievable that the Tea Party would support gambling our seniors’ social security benefits on the stock market and ending Medicare as we know it.”


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