Taking a quantitative look at Rep. Andy Barr's record

09/10/2018 07:17 PM

Lexington – In a new segment, Pure Politics will be looking at the bills Kentucky’s federal lawmakers have filed and passed into law.

Passing laws is just a small part of a Congress person’s job, and often even when they do have a bill, that bill will be rolled into a larger bill and move through Congress that way. However, this is a quantitative way to look at the work legislators have been doing, and also what sort of bills they have been showing interest in.
To research that, Spectrum News used the non-partisan website, GovTrack and then double-checked those figures on Congress’ website.
In his 5 years in Congress, Representative Andy Barr has been the primary sponsor of 56 bills.
The majority of those are related to the financial sector with tax related bills coming in second.
Of his 56 bills, 12 passed the House of Representatives, but then stopped before passing the Senate.
As for becoming law Barr has only had one of his bills become a law on its own. That was in February and was about renaming the veteran facilities in Lexington after two Kentucky veterans.
When it comes to voting records, Barr tends to vote along with President Trump. The website 538.com determined that they’ve voted together 96.7 percent of the time. Since Trump took office, the two have only voted differently three times. Two were related to hurricane relief, when Barr voted down relief related bills for Texas and Puerto Rico.
The other was when Barr voted yes on sanctions for Russia, Iran and North Korea, while the President said no.
Barr wasn’t available for an interview about this, but his campaign spokesperson gave a statement. In the three page statement, Jodi Whitaker said:

As a member of the House of Representatives, Congressman Barr has worked with his colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, and has an established record of sponsoring and supporting bills that have been signed into law. The speculation that solely sponsoring a bill is an accurate description of the Congressman’s role as a legislator shows a lack of understanding of the legislative process. There is much more that goes into his responsibilities such as voting, committee work, assisting constituents with their disability claims, helping veterans receive their lost medals, and securing funds for the district – just to name a few.

Even further, not all bills or amendments that Congressman Barr sponsored/cosponsored/supported are passed as a single measure. The majority of the time these bills are packaged together – for example many of the appropriations bills are packaged together into “omnibus” bills and the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, an opioid package of 58 bills passed the House earlier this year, included one of the Congressman’s bills.

Congressman Barr has been successful in getting results for Kentuckians, for example:
• Congressman Barr supported the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which created a simpler, fairer system that doubled the standard deduction, doubled the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child, and cut taxes for a family of four in the Sixth District by an average of $2,052. Additionally, the tax cuts included two bills Congressman Barr sponsored – the Aged Distilled Spirits Competitiveness Act and the Race Horse Cost Recovery Act – that boost two of Kentucky’s bourbon and horse industries. This packaged legislation was signed into law on December 22, 2017.
• Congressman Barr voted for vital funding to rebuild our nation’s military, increase readiness, bolster our Naval forces, increase end strength of our Armed Forces and provide the largest pay raise for our troops in a decade. The FY19 NDAA was signed into law on August 13, 2018.
• Congressman Barr introduced the Transitional Housing for Recovery in Viable Environments (THRIVE) Act, which allocates a limited number of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers for transitional housing non-profits, similar to many successful models in the Sixth District. These vouchers would be used to help individuals in recovery maintain sobriety, rise above government dependency, and gain valuable life and employment skills. This legislation was included in the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which passed the House and is currently being considered in the Senate.
• Congressman Barr introduced and passed an amendment to enhance resources for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program, bringing total funding to $280 million and helping a number of Sixth District counties fight drug trafficking.
• Congressman Barr helped pass the 21st Century Cures Act, which funds new research and treatment for Alzheimer’s, cancer, and opioid addiction. This legislation encourages medical innovation, accelerates the development of new medical projects, and helps find new drugs and cures for rare diseases. It also included his language focusing on neonatal abstinence syndrome. This legislation was signed into law on December 16, 2016.
• Congressman Barr introduced the Otto Warmbier North Korea Nuclear Sanctions Act, which would impose the most far-reaching sanctions ever directed to Pyongyang. According the UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, this legislation helped push North Korea to the negotiating table to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. This legislation passed the House on October 24, 2017. There aren’t many other members that have done as much to hold North Korea accountable than Congressman Barr.
• Congressman Barr introduced legislation to rename the two campuses of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Lexington in honor of two Kentucky World War II heroes Troy Bowling and Franklin Sousley. This legislation was signed into law on March 9, 2018.
• Congressman Barr introduced the Military Sexual Assault Victims Empowerment (SAVE) Act, which would allow survivors of military sexual trauma to receive the treatment of their choice outside of the VA system. This legislation passed the House on May 21, 2018 and is currently being considered in the Senate.
• Congressman Barr passed an amendment to increase funding for equine assisted therapy to help our returning warriors recover from the psychological scars of combat.
• Congressman Barr succeeded in petitioning the Secretary of the Department of Interior to recommend Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park in Jessamine County be designated a national monument. He also introduced legislation, the Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage National Monument Act, to make Camp Nelson a unit of the National Park System. This legislation passed the House on June 5, 2018.
• Congressman Barr supported the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, which expanded GI bill eligibility, removed the time restriction on the use of the GI bill for eligible recipients, and increased funding for Reservists and Guardsmen.
• Congressman Barr supported S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which is the most financial regulatory relief package in a generation. This legislation marks a return to relationship banking between community financial institutions and its customers. S. 2155 included two of Congressman Barr’s bills – the Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act and Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act. S. 2155 was signed into law on May 24, 2018.
• Congressman Barr was a leading advocate for the Childhood Cancer STAR Act, which advances pediatric cancer research and child-focused cancer treatments. This legislation was signed into law on May 29, 2018.
• After nearly seven years of hearing constituents’ struggle with the one-size-fits all health care law that is now collapsing under its own weight, Congressman Barr supported the American Health Care Act to increase competition and choice, lower costs, and deliver relief to families throughout Kentucky. The American Health Care Act, which represented the largest entitlement reform in history, would have created a personalized, patient-centered health care system to encourage the health insurance marketplace to compete, ensure individuals with pre-existing conditions have access to affordable, quality health care and allow families to pick the plan that best fits their needs. This legislation passed the House on May 4, 2017.
• Congressman Barr supported the Small Business Fairness Act to allow small businesses to bind together to offer high quality, lower cost health insurance plans to their employees, relieving them from the costly state-mandated laws that make health care coverage exorbitantly expensive.
• Congressman Barr supported the VA MISSION Act, which consolidates the VA’s seven community health care programs into one program, funds the VA Choice Program, and expands the VA Caregiver Program to all eras. This legislation was signed into law on June 6, 2018.
• Voted in favor for the 2018 Farm Bill to give Kentucky’s farmers security and stability, protect farmers access to crop insurance, streamline and reduce regulatory burdens, and improve and reform SNAP to introduce work requirements for able-bodied, working age adults. The Farm Bill included the Market Access Program, one of Congressman Barr’s priorities, to benefit Kentucky’s horse industry.
• Congressman Barr helped secure a $4.9 million federal grant for the University of Kentucky’s PATHways/Beyond Birth Team which serves pregnant women battling addiction in rural areas.
• Included in the Water Resource Development Act (WRDA), Congressman Barr’s provisions for the disposition of Kentucky locks and dams numbered 1-4 from the Army Corps of Engineers to the Kentucky River Authority.
• Congressman Barr cosponsored H.J.Res 38 which disapproves the Stream Protection Rule submitted by the Department of Interior. This legislation relieves regulations imposed by this rule and addresses the impacts of surface coal mining operations on surface water and the productivity of mining operation sites. H.J. Res 38 was signed into law by President Trump on February 16, 2017.
• Congressman Barr established the Sixth District Veterans Coalition to solicit input and advice regarding legislation and military matters. The coalition has grown to more than 1,000 members and the casework team has helped hundreds of veterans resolve issues with the VA, disability claims, and replace lost military medals.
• Congressman Barr led a Kentucky Congressional delegation letter in support of the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center’s application to renew its National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation. The University of Kentucky received its renewal NCI designation in August 2018.
As you can see, there is much more to the Congressman’s sponsorships that are warranted recognition. And, these accomplishments are just in the 115th Congress!
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Spectrum News Kentucky also looked at Representative Brett Guthrie’s record and over the week will look at the records of all 6 of Kentucky’s Congress people.

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