The Richmond Register

Local News

December 18, 2013

Barr: House budget compromise a step toward sensible policy

MADISON COUNTY — The budget compromise that passed the House of Representatives last week support was a modest step toward common-sense policy making that could get the economy moving again.

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Sixth District expressed that hope in a Tuesday address to the Madison County Industrial Management Club.

The measure, that was to come before the Senate this week, was in stark contrast to the partisan gridlock that led to a federal government shutdown in October, the first-term congressman said.

The shutdown was an “unhelpful” move that most Americans found distressing, Barr said.

Unlike the agreement that ended the government shutdown, however, the budget compromise would make a small dent in the federal deficit, $23 billion.

If passed by the Senate and signed by the President, the measure also would chip away at the across-the-board spending cuts that have led to furloughs of federal employees, including those at the Blue Grass Army Depot, the congressman said.

Although funding for the weapons destruction plant being built at the depot appears assured for the short-term, so important a project should never be halted because of board policy disagreements in Congress, Barr continued.

The automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, were adopted to force Congress into setting priorities, but the plan backfired when no action was taken and the across-the-board cuts went into effect, he said.

No matter how well-intended they may have been, federal legislation such as the Dodd-Frank banking reform act and the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, were inhibiting economic recovery. More specifically, they are hurting small businesses and the individuals they were intended to help, Barr said, citing some examples.

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has classified Bath County, a “picturesque community” east of Mt. Sterling with only two stop lights in its county seat, as non-rural. As a result, the three small banks there will have to change their mortgage lending policies. The rules threaten the future of a small bank that has been in business for 120 years, surviving the Great Depression and the financial crisis, according to its fifth-generation president. It may not be in business 10 years from now, unless the regulatory decision is changed, Barr said the banker told him.

The Congressman, who said he has brought the issue before the CFPB, is hopeful the decision can be overturned.

Another example Barr cited was a Winchester truck driver with cancer who said his insurance has been canceled because of Affordable Care Act requirements. The cheapest insurance he can find on state’s site costs $1,800 more each month than he had been paying.

As he had done before, Barr pointed to the Joe Bologna’s restaurant in Lexington, which he said has had to curtail its growth so it would have no more than 50 employees and avoid the Obamacare insurance mandate. The mandate, which has been delayed but not eliminated, also has forced Bologna’s to limit other employees to no more than 30 hours a week, he said.

While virtually no coal is mined in the Sixth District, Barr said some of his constituents work in coal-related industries or for manufacturers that depend on low-cost, coal-generated electricity.

He told of a Wolfe County mother who told him she had to buy flip flops instead of shoes for her children when they went back to school in August because her husband had been laid off from his coal-related job.

Many such layoffs can be traced to more stringent regulation of coal mining and burning imposed by the Obama administration, Barr said.

However, the congressman said extending unemployment benefits creates a disincentive for jobless people to find work.

He made that statement as he answered a question about President Obama’s proposal to raise the minimum wage.

Barr said he is against the proposal as a way to reduce income inequality because it would “destroy jobs” by removing “the first two rungs of the income ladder.”

Although family breadwinners need to make more than minimum wage, that is not who works such jobs, he said. The minimum wage is for entry-level jobs in which employees are trained, Barr said, noting that employees of the industry groups members make much more than the minimum.

In addition to his opposition to extending unemployment benefits, Barr said he favors reform of entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicare.

“Sensible reform” of those programs would reduce the federal deficit while protecting them for the elderly and ensuring their long-term viability.

Without going into details, Barr said he was co-sponsoring health-care reform legislation that would cover the uninsured, a goal of Obamacare, and reduce health-care costs.

More Kentuckians have lost than gained health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, he said.

Bill Robinson can be reached at or at 624-6690.


Text Only
Local News
  • 4-20 Shoulders-B.jpg Eggs fly at park

    Easter has probably never been so “eggstravagant” in Richmond as it was Saturday during the annual Eggstravaganza in Irvine-McDowell Park.
    For the first time, thousands of eggs were dropped, appropriately by an “eggbeater”-type helicopter, in addition to thousands of eggs already scattered on the grass below. Together, they numbered about 10,000, according to Erin Moore, Richmond Parks and Recreation director.

    April 20, 2014 12 Photos

  • City awaits funds for Water Street project

    Richmond city officials are still awaiting word on grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the Water Street drainage project.
    However, Mayor Jim Barnes said he is confident the money should come through by May 1.

    April 20, 2014

  • Kitcarson1.jpg Elementary schools built in ‘60s getting upgrades

    Renovation of three Madison County elementary schools built in Richmond during the 1960s will start this summer.
    The county school board voted Thursday to continue with the second phase of state paperwork required for the projects.
    With a target completion date of August 2015, renovations and alterations at Daniel Boone, Kit Carson and White Hall elementary schools are estimated to cost almost $12 million.

    April 20, 2014 9 Photos

  • KY 52 link to I-75 to be discussed May 13

    While a proposed link from Nicholasville to Exit 95 on Interstate 75 north of Richmond has garnered attention and organized opposition, the state also is developing plans to link I-75 to another community to the west.

    April 20, 2014

  • May 30 last school day for students

    After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-19 TechExtra1.jpg Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza

    Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.

    April 19, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-19 SchoolBoardJesseWard.jpg Ward honored for service; tech center named after him

    Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Brian Smith.jpg Berea man indicted on 24 child porn counts

    A Madison grand jury has indicted a Berea man on 24 counts related to child pornography.

    Brian J. Smith, 26, is charged with four counts of distribution and 20 counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by a minor.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Gregory Powell.jpg Police apprehend burglary suspect

    An observant witness was able to help Richmond police catch a burglary suspect shortly after a break-in Thursday afternoon on Savanna Drive off Berea Road.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 PackTrack1a.jpg Walkers, runners of every age ‘Pack the Track’

    Waco Elementary and Model Laboratory schools students raised more than $8,000 (and counting) for the annual Pack the Track event at Eastern Kentucky University’s Tom Samuels Track Thursday, said Kim DeCoste of the Madison County Diabetes Coalition.

    April 18, 2014 14 Photos

AP Video
Raw: Fire Engulfs Tower Block in China Ocean Drones Making Waves in Research World Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier Raw: Ferry Captain Received Medical Treatment Hundreds Gather for Denver Pot Rally on Easter Transcript Reveals Confusion in Ferry Evacuation Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

     View Results