Posts Tagged ‘Washington’

Rep. Andy Barr Rails Against Gov’t Regs, Spending, and ‘War on Coal’

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

In the final installment of our special One to One series with Kentucky’s federal delegation, Bill Goodman’s interview with Rep. Andy Barr airs on KET tonight at 6:30 ET.

A proponent for spending restraints and national debt reduction, Kentucky’s 6th District Rep. Andy Barr pledged support in January for a “No Budget No Pay” proposal that would require the House and Senate members to pass a budget as a condition of receiving their salaries.

During a spring hearing of the Financial Services Committee, he relayed complaints from community banks that Washington regulations are too burdensome, complex, and counterproductive.

Also in mid-April, the Lexington Republican reserved an hour of time on the floor of the U.S. House to lead what is known as a Special Order on the “Importance of America’s Coal Industry.” He and 10 others of the same and different political stripes bragged on coal’s ability to produce affordable energy and create jobs. Barr co-sponsors the “Coal Jobs Protection Act” introduced earlier this month. He says at least 36 mining permits in Kentucky are being held up by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The measure would ensure timely action on permit applications, and a companion version is being championed in the Senate by Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

And, just last week, Barr introduced the “Live by the Laws You Write Act” in the U.S. House of Representatives. According to a press release from May 16th, the two-page legislation aims to close Obamacare’s congressional loophole and ensure that Congress and its staff are not exempt from the laws that it writes. Barr was quoted in the release as saying, “It is wrong for the people who wrote Obamacare to have exempted themselves, so today we are fixing that to ensure that there is no special treatment for the people who wrote this legislation.”

In the last installment of congressional interviews from Washington D.C. with host Bill Goodman, Barr discusses his perception that “Washington policies are creating economic uncertainty.”

The 39-year-old attorney talks with Goodman tonight at 6:30 ET about transitioning to Beltway politics. In 2004, Barr worked in the Republican gubernatorial administration of Governor Ernie Fletcher and at one time served as Fletcher’s deputy general counsel.

At the interview start, Barr tells Goodman why constituent accessibility is a top priority and discusses the ways he’s trying to engage citizens in the process of lawmaking.

Watch the full interview for more of Barr’s thoughts on coal, health care reform, and immigration tonight at 6:30 ET on KET.

Rep. Thomas Massie the Freshmore: “Call Me Mr. K‘NO’W”

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Bill Goodman’s One to One interview with Rep. Thomas Massie airs on KET tonight at 6:30 ET.

Kentucky’s 4th District Rep. Thomas Massie began his service in Washington under a rare political scenario back in 2012. He won a special and general election on the same day to fill the vacancy left by retiring Congressman Geoff Davis. He was sworn into office immediately after the November election –a trajectory that explains the “freshmore” nomenclature.

In a crowded field of seven Republicans with the Tea Party winds and Greenbacks firmly at his back, Massie bested the two more politically well-heeled candidates: State Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington and Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore for the win last year. If the victory was a surprise to some political observers and pundits, imagine the shrills of disbelief when he refused to back John Boehner as Speaker of the House and subsequently voted ‘no’ on a Hurricane Sandy relief measure. Massie’s maverick moves of going rogue in the Republican Party have earned him the nickname “Mr. No.”

A relative newcomer to politics, Massie earned his first electoral victory in 2010 as Lewis County Judge/Executive. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) engineering graduate with two dozen patents under his belt, tells Bill Goodman tonight at 6:30 ET how he relies on his engineering background to analyze legislation. Rep. Massie says he doesn’t operate on intuition, but facts. He adds that his policy making motivations are not to broker deals, but mine solutions. He also complains of the lack of time lawmakers actually are afforded to read bills before acting and how the moniker of “Mr. No” needs some correcting.

Visitors to his Washington office get a blunt reminder of Rep. Massie’s top priority: debt reduction. A large flat screen monitor, showing nothing more than upward-ticking national debt numbers approaching $17 trillion, greets you as you enter his office in the Cannon House building. Assuming a minimalist spartan approach to office decorating that matches his preference for less government spending, the only Kentucky memento to be found is a hemp pillow with “My Old Kentucky Home” embroidered in black stitch. On a coffee table flanking his desk is a prominently displayed press release on hemp paper announcing his introduction of an industrial hemp bill on February 6th of this year. Most members of the Kentucky delegation are backing measures in Congress to legalize hemp or push for a federal waiver to allow Kentucky to grow it.

Bill Goodman talks with Rep. Massie about industrial hemp, immigration, why he thinks the sequester is a clumsy way of dealing with government spending, and why he’s frustrated by what he says are federal lawmakers’ “propensity to abandon ideology to pursue some fixed partisan goal.”

Watch the entire interview tonight at 6:30 ET on KET. Tomorrow night, the special One to One series with Kentucky’s federal delegation continues with Rep. Hal Rogers.

Rep. John Yarmuth: KY’s Lone Democratic Ranger in Washington

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Bill Goodman’s interview with Rep. John Yarmuth airs on KET tonight at 6:30 ET.

As a one-time legislative aide on Capitol Hill, newspaper publisher, television commentator and host, it would be safe to assume Louisvillian John Yarmuth had a pretty good warm-up before claiming a seat amongst the other 434 United States representatives back in 2006. Yarmuth’s victory back then against five-term GOP Congresswoman Anne Northup was due, in part, to a national wave of growing discontent over George W. Bush’s Iraq War.

Now, in his fourth term and the only democrat in the Kentucky congressional delegation, Yarmuth is sharply critical of the political molasses that mires even the most seemingly benign and simple measures.

Rep. Yarmuth, who defected from the Republican Party in 1985, scoffs at the unyielding gridlock in Washington and declares the system “irresponsive to problems, voter opinions or challenges.” “(Washington)…is not functioning with any degree of efficiency, and it’s giving the public a bad impression of our democracy and leaving them frustrated and unfulfilled,” he laments.

So, the logical follow-up by host Bill Goodman is ‘how to loosen gridlock’s grip?’  Yarmuth claims district apportionment has a lot to do with it in this clip from Bill’s interview.

On the sluggish pace of lawmaking, Yarmurth asserts that “… at its optimum, our system is designed to move at about 20 miles per hour, and the world’s moving at 100 miles per hour. We’ve got to figure out how to narrow that gap.”

In assessing President Obama’s second term agenda, Rep. Yarmuth says in one sense he’s very impressed with Obama’s outspokenness on a number of issues including gun legislation, immigration reform, early childhood education, and standing up for an increase in the minimum wage. But, Yarmuth reserves praise of Obama pending actions that result from the rhetoric.

As a member of the Gang of Eight working on the House version of an immigration bill in Congress, Yarmuth talks about the near-secret group that’s worked out of the press limelight to forge consensus and work toward a shared goal. He believes both parties are highly motivated to broker a deal, even though he anticipates some rough patches on the way to reaching a resolution.

Bill Goodman talks with Rep. Yarmuth about the practice of mountain top removal, sequestration and a Democratic challenger to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014 tonight at 6:30 ET on KET. Tomorrow night, the special One to One series with Kentucky’s federal delegation continues with 4th District Rep. Thomas Massie.


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