Andy Barr

Andy Barr

KENTUCKY's 6th DISTRICT

Barr Reintroduces HELP in Rural Communities Act

2015/03/04

Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) today reintroduced the Helping Expand Lending Practices (HELP) in Rural Communities Act with Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX).  The bill would provide individuals in rural areas the right to petition for the area to be properly reclassified as “rural” and relieve local community banks and credit unions from burdensome regulations that unfairly limit their ability to lend and help create jobs in their communities. “While the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has expanded their definition of ‘rural’ to include areas like Bath County, the process remains opaque, arbitrary, and not subject to appeal,” said Congressman Barr.  “I am pleased to reintroduce this bipartisan bill along with Congressman Hinojosa which will help rural communities across America that are struggling with the one-size-fits-all regulations for which they lack the resources to comply.” Background: The idea for this legislation stemmed from a hearing in May 2013 where Congressman Barr learned that Washington-based bureaucrats at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) shockingly and incorrectly claimed that Bath County, Kentucky should be considered “non-rural” for purposes of its lending rules. The HELP Rural Communities Act was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives during the 113th Congress on May 6, 2014. On January 29, 2015, the CFPB announced a rule to expand the definition of “rural” areas within its financial regulations to include Bath County, Kentucky.  While this was a positive development, the expanded definition did not address the underlying concern, nor did it provide a means to contest the designation for other improperly labeled “non-rural” counties. Read More

Barr Votes to Fund Homeland Security, Not Amnesty

2015/02/28

Congressman Andy Barr (KY-6) today voted to extend funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for one week.  The extension prevents an immediate lapse in funding for DHS and gives Congress time to negotiate differences between a House bill to fund the Department passed more than six weeks ago, and a Senate version of the bill which was passed earlier today.  The extension will not enable the President’s executive actions granting amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants because the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued a temporary injunction to halt these actions on February 16, 2015.   “A short-term extension of Homeland Security funding is far from ideal; however, because Senate Democrats obstructed the funding bill until the last minute, they have left no time to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation,” said Congressman Barr.  “The American people want solutions and are tired of deadline politics.  Today, with my support, the House has once again acted responsibly to prevent a lapse in funding and to allow the legislative process to work under regular order.  While the President’s unconstitutional actions have already been halted by a federal court, I am hopeful this extension will give Congress and the courts time to address this overreach in a more permanent way.” Read More

Barr Introduces Legislation to Help Homebuyers, Prevent Bailouts

2015/02/27

Congressman Andy Barr (KY-6) introduced legislation that would ease the regulatory requirements on home loans, so long as the mortgage lender holds the loan on its books rather than selling it into the secondary market.  H.R. 1210, the Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act, would relax the overly burdensome, one size fits all Qualified Mortgage Rule imposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  The bill promotes affordable home financing and discourages the risky practices which led to the 2008 financial crisis and the resulting taxpayer bailouts of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and large systemically important financial institutions. “The aim of this legislation is simple: banks and credit unions should be given more discretion to originate mortgages as long as they agree to retain the risk of that loan,” said Congressman Barr.  “This reform would promote responsible lending practices that would help more Kentucky homebuyers qualify for a mortgage, and protect hardworking taxpayers from future bailouts.” The Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act, provides that when a residential mortgage loan is held by the loan originator, it is considered a “Qualified Mortgage” and therefore satisfies the “ability-to-repay” requirement in Dodd-Frank.  When a mortgage lender keeps a loan in its portfolio, the lender retains the risk of a borrower’s default.  This better aligns the interest of the lender to properly underwrite the loan with the borrower’s ability to repay it.  The result is expanded access to mortgage credit without additional risk to the financial system or the taxpayer. To date, the legislation has 17 cosponsors and has been endorsed by the American Bankers Association, the Independent Community Bankers of America, and the Kentucky Bankers Association. What others are saying about the Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act: “At Central Bank we’ve found success by empowering our employees to provide superior service and value to our customers, shareholders, and communities.  Congressman Barr’s bill would provide needed regulatory relief, which would allow us to us to do our job and help more Kentuckians buy homes they can afford.” – Luther Deaton, Jr., Chairman, President & CEO of Central Bank “Kentucky Bank has been operating in central Kentucky since 1851.  We know our people and we are better equipped to make business decisions on the creditworthiness of individuals and businesses in our communities than any agency in Washington, D.C.  We appreciate Representative Barr’s work on this issue, which would help us serve the needs of Kentuckians.” – Louis Prichard, President and CEO of Kentucky Bank “ABA strongly supports the Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act, legislation introduced by Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) that would help expand access to mortgage credit by treating loans originated by a bank and held in portfolio as Qualified Mortgages.  It’s clear that new regulatory requirements have restrained mortgage lending, and have made it particularly difficult for some creditworthy borrowers to obtain a home loan.  This proposal is a common sense approach that will help borrowers gain access to some of the lowest risk mortgage products offered by banks.” – Frank Keating, President and CEO of the American Bankers Association Read More

Barr Announces Congressional Art Competition

2015/02/23

Congressman Andy Barr (KY-6) today announced the Congressional Art Competition which is open to all high school students in the Sixth District.  The overall winner will have his or her work displayed in the United States Capitol for the next year.  It will represent the Sixth Congressional District of Kentucky among hundreds of pieces from other congressional districts throughout the county.  The winner will also be invited to come see their artwork displayed in the U.S. Capitol. Students who wish to participate must complete the participation form and return it to the Lexington office no later than Friday, March 6, 2015.  Artwork must be submitted to Congressman Barr's Lexington District Office with the student information and release form no later than Friday, March 30, 2014. Official rules and all forms are available on Congressman Barr’s website at: https://barr.house.gov/services/art-competition.  Read More

Barr Fights for Kentucky Bourbon Jobs

2015/02/11

Congressman Andy Barr (KY-6) today introduced the Aged Distilled Spirits Competitiveness Act of 2015.  The aging process is essential to producing high quality Kentucky bourbon.  However, the U.S. tax code discriminates against this process by not allowing distillers to deduct inventory expenses until the final product is sold, which can take from two to more than 20 years.  Distillers of other spirits such as vodka are able to deduct these expenses right away because their products are not aged. Congressman Barr’s bill would allow bourbon, whisky, and other distillers of aged spirits to deduct interest expenses of their inventories as they occur.  This change would make the tax treatment of bourbon comparable to other distilled spirits, and improve its competitiveness in the growing international market. “Kentucky’s bourbon industry is thriving – providing much needed jobs, investment, and economic growth in the Commonwealth,” said Congressman Barr.  “As the domestic and international markets for distilled spirits grow, it is important that we reform our outdated and complex tax code to eliminate the practice of putting Kentucky products at a competitive disadvantage.  This bill is a commonsense fix which would treat bourbon and other aged spirits fairly for tax purposes, helping support jobs for Kentucky families and our local economy.” Congressman Barr introduced the Aged Distilled Spirits Competitiveness Act along with original cosponsors: Congressman Ed Whitfield (KY-1), Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-2), Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3), Congressman Thomas Massie (KY-4), Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-5), Congressman Stephen Fincher (TN-8), and Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9). What others are saying about the Aged Distilled Spirits Competitiveness Act: “The Kentucky Distillers’ Association and our 27 members applaud Congressman Barr for his leadership on this critical issue.  Kentucky is the one, true and authentic home for Bourbon, and our signature industry is on the cusp of a Golden Age.  Relief from the discriminatory capitalized interest issue will create a level playing field and strengthen the growing Bourbon renaissance.  The KDA stands ready to assist Congressman Barr and protect America’s only native spirit.” - Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, a non-profit trade group founded in 1880. “The filing of this bill is an important step to the growth of the bourbon industry.  Removing a measure that discriminates against bourbon will allow all distilleries to better compete against all other spirits, both domestically and internationally.  It will also allow all of us to distill more bourbon, which unfortunately is in short supply due to measures like this, the aging required, and growing demand.  I commend Congressman Barr for his willingness to stand up for Kentucky’s bourbon industry.  We look forward to working with the Congressman and the rest of Kentucky’s federal delegation to continue to grow the bourbon industry. ” - Mark Brown, President and CEO of Buffalo Trace Distillery which has operations in Frankfort, Bardstown, and Owensboro, Kentucky. Read More

Barr Hosts Congressional Youth Ambassador Program on Education and Leadership

2015/02/10

The third installment of the Congressional Youth Ambassador Program was recently held at Eastern Kentucky University, with a focus on education and team building.  Congressman Barr’s non-partisan program selects junior and senior high school student leaders from across the Sixth Congressional District to attend sessions as an ambassador on their school’s behalf.  “It is such a pleasure having the opportunity to work with young leaders from across the Sixth District,” Barr said.  “I’m grateful to President Benson for allowing us to host this session at EKU – the students left with a unique understanding of the role that education plays in our community.  They had the opportunity to learn both about higher-education in the classroom, as well as knowledge that comes from experience, and understanding that both play a strong role in leadership development.” The session included a panel discussion focused on leadership as well as individual breakout meetings with panelists.  The panel of speakers included President of Eastern Kentucky University Dr. Michael Benson; President of Kentucky State University Dr. Raymond Burse; President and CEO of Bluegrass Community and Technical College Dr. Augusta Julian; and Kentucky State Representative Ryan Quarles.   Read More

Barr Votes to Give Small Businesses Flexibility in the Regulatory Process

2015/02/05

Congressman Andy Barr (KY-6) today voted in favor of H.R. 527, the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvement Act, which passed the House of Representatives in a bipartisan vote.  Among other reforms, the bill would require federal agencies to consider the direct and indirect costs of new regulations.  The bill would also establish advocacy review panels to give small businesses earlier input on new proposed rules. “Small businesses continue to bear the brunt of the thousands of new regulations being imposed by the Obama Administration because they can least afford the high cost of compliance with these burdensome rules,” said Congressman Barr.  “The indirect costs of these regulations are hurting Kentucky families by making it more difficult to find a good job, afford day-to-day expenses, and plan for the future. “The legislation passed by the House is a commonsense approach to help give small businesses a voice in the regulatory process, and to make agencies more accountable for the impacts their actions have on our economy.  Reforms such as these will help small businesses grow, hire new employees, invest in our communities, and ultimately grow our economy.” Read More

Agency Heeds Barr’s Call for Regulatory Relief for Rural Counties

2015/01/29

Washington, D.C. –Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a rule to expand the definition of “rural” areas within its financial regulations, bowing to pressure from a bipartisan group of Members of Congress, led by Congressman Andy Barr (KY-6). “I’m pleased that a legislative proposal initiated by Kentuckians spurred the Bureau to adopt these long-overdue regulatory relief measures, which will help residents of rural America access affordable credit at their community banks and credit unions,” said Congressman Barr. “While this proposal expands the definition of ‘rural’ to include Bath County, I will continue to monitor this rulemaking to make sure it meaningfully solves the problem.  If necessary, I will reintroduce legislation to give other communities a means to challenge their designation, and to codify this rule in law.” This regulatory change follows increased scrutiny from a bipartisan group of Members of Congress.  In 2013, Congressman Barr introduced the bipartisan Helping Expand Lending Practices (HELP) in Rural Communities Act after hearing from community bankers in Bath County, which was improperly designated as “non-rural” by the CFPB with no explanation or means to contest the decision.  This legislation would help remedy this situation by giving individuals an appeals process by which to contest the designation.  The HELP in Rural Communities Act passed the House of Representatives last year without opposition. Read More

Congressman Barr's Statement on the Passing of Senator Wendell Ford

2015/01/22

WASHINGTON-Congressman Andy Barr (KY-6) today released the following statement on the passing of former Senator Wendell Ford: “As a Governor and U.S. Senator, Wendell Ford always upheld the highest ideals of public service.  His love of the Commonwealth was evident in his life’s work and he leaves a proud legacy of service to its people. “Today, Carol and I honor the many years of service of Wendell Ford to the people of Kentucky, and we extend our sincere condolences to the Ford family.” Read More

Barr Votes to Reform SNAP Program

2013/09/20

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Congressman Andy Barr released the following statement after voting for H.R. 3102, the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013, which passed the House by a vote of 217-210: “Today, I voted to restore accountability and much-needed fiscal responsibility to an important federal program that has grown to unsustainable levels.  These commonsense reforms to our food stamp program will achieve nearly $40 billion in savings, while increasing funding for food banks.  The bill will provide a full $725 billion in food assistance to families and children in need over the next ten years.  This legislation is the most compassionate policy because it encourages people who are capable of work to move from dependency to self-sufficiency.”   As passed by the House of Representatives, H.R. 3102 will implement several important reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).   H.R. 3102 would protect the solvency of this important program by:   Reducing waste, fraud, and abuse and increasing oversight over benefit payments.  The legislation increases funding for local food banks, which are in a better position to ensure that nutrition assistance reaches those who truly need it. Ending taxpayer funding for advertising and marketing efforts for SNAP and the automatic enrollment of people who do not need assistance. Restoring the work requirements for able-bodied SNAP recipients without dependents.  Children, those unable to work, and the disabled will not see their benefits affected.  States will maintain the authority to grant waivers to able-bodied individuals who cannot work, due to issues such as mental illness.   These commonsense reforms will save taxpayers $39 billion between 2014 and 2023, a 5 percent reduction from the current Congressional Budget Office forecast of federal spending for SNAP, which totals $764 billion over the next decade.  ### Read More

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Contact Information

1432 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4706
Fax 202-225-2122
barr.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Financial Services

Andy Barr took the oath of office as the new United States Representative for Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District on January 3, 2013. As the Sixth District extends from the Bluegrass Region to the edge of the Cumberland Plateau’s coalfields, Congressman Barr enjoys the distinct honor of representing a geographically diverse region, whose residents work in virtually all of Kentucky’s signature industries.

Congressman Barr has dedicated his tenure in Congress to promoting the dreams and aspirations of his constituents by strengthening Kentucky’s signature coal, manufacturing, equine, bourbon, and agriculture industries, while fighting for policies that unleash the creative capacity of every individual. His immediate priorities involve getting Kentuckians back to work, promoting economic growth, and restoring common sense and fiscal sanity to Washington.

Garland “Andy” Barr was born in Lexington, Kentucky on July 24, 1973; the son of Garland Barr; the founder of a successful accounting practice, and Donna Barr, an Episcopal deacon and hospital chaplain. The second-eldest of three children; he grew up enjoying the blessings of a loving family while witnessing his sister Emily’s struggle to overcome the debilitating effects of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Emily’s victory, which culminated in her graduation from seminary and her ordination as a minister – inspired Andy Barr to seek causes larger than him in which to invest his talents and energy.

Congressman Barr graduated from Lexington’s Henry Clay High School in 1992, and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1996, graduating with Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors. He served as Legislative Assistant for U.S. Rep. Jim Talent from 1996 until 1998, staffing then-Congressman (and future Senator) Talent’s participation on Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s Health Care Reform Task Force. He subsequently returned to Kentucky, earning his law degree from the University of Kentucky in 2001, where he participated on the College of Law’s Moot Court National Team.

In 2004, Congressman Barr joined the administration of newly-elected Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher (who represented the Sixth Congressional District from 1998 until 2003); ultimately rising to the position of Deputy General Counsel to the Governor. Barr returned to his Lexington-based private law practice in 2007.

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 Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky. He is a member of Christ Church Cathedral. He is married to the former Eleanor Carol Leavell of Georgetown, Kentucky; together, they are the proud parents of two daughters.


Serving With

Ed Whitfield

KENTUCKY's 1st DISTRICT

Brett Guthrie

KENTUCKY's 2nd DISTRICT

Thomas Massie

KENTUCKY's 4th DISTRICT

Hal Rogers

KENTUCKY's 5th DISTRICT

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