Republican Andy Barr will be sworn in as the newest member of Congress from Kentucky Thursday afternoon in Washington. Barr, a Lexington attorney, won election in November over Democrat incumbent Ben Chandler in a contentious race to represent Kentucky's 6th Congressional district.
Barr will serve on the House Committee on Financial Services, which he says he considers a top tier assignment. He said he'll be able to use the committee assignment to work on solving Kentucky's job crisis by pushing to lift regulations that are preventing community banks from making needed loans to individuals and small businesses.
The "fiscal cliff" deal approved by the U.S. House and Senate over the weekend was crafted by two men on mostly opposite ends of the political spectrum: Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden.
According to a report in Politico, McConnell decided to work with the White House on the deal because Kentucky's senior Senator believed it would help the GOP gain future leverage in entitlement negotiations, and prevent President Obama from being able to castigate Republicans as the party that held tax cuts for the middle class hostage in behalf of the richest Americans.
A Kentucky legislative leader says progress on reforming the state’s liquor laws is slow going. Last year, a federal judge threw out the state law that blocks grocery stores and gas stations from selling wine and spirits.
That same judge later stayed his ruling to prevent a sudden surge in liquor retailers and to allow Kentucky lawmakers to re-write the regulations. But House Speaker Greg Stumbo says so far, no one has put forward a proposal to properly address the issue.
“Everyone hopes that there will be some sort of reasonable proposal from the entire industry that takes in consideration the court’s ruling. To date I haven’t seen that.”
Just days shy of the New Year, members of Congress and the White House are hoping to strike a last-minute bargain to avoid across-the-board tax increases and deep spending cuts. Congressional leaders are meeting Friday with President Obama, although there are no signs a compromise deal is taking shape to avoid going off the fiscal cliff January 1st.
Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky accused the president of campaigning even after he was re-elected, and he accused Democrats of "sitting on their hands."