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Barr, Guthrie talk issues at Chamber event hosts speeches

The Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce hosted a luncheon Friday at the new Bluegrass Hall where Congressman Andy Barr and Congressman Brett Guthrie spoke to the audience on several issues concerning topics at both the state and national level.

Barr was first to speak, telling those in attendance that it is an exciting time in America.

“This has been a very productive term of Congress,” Barr said. “It is great to be with you and give you an update from Washington and the shift in public policy over the last couple years.”

Barr continued by stating his colleagues gave him an important responsibility during this term which was to chair a subcommittee with jurisdiction over the federal reserve system where a slice oversees the implementation and enforcement of sanctions.

“One of the great opportunities we have as chairman is we get access to the nation’s top economists,“ Barr said.

The committee, Barr said, meets on a regular basis. Now, in an expenditure phase, he explained the committee is winding down and normalizing interest rates and also being able to move distortions from nations.

“There is a reason for that,” Barr said. “Chairman Powell said this is the best economy in (his) professional lifetime.”

The economy, Barr said, is growing at 4.2 percent. According to him, there are more job openings, consumer confidence is soaring at a two-decade high and small business optimism is the highest it has ever been. Wage growth, Barr said, is going up and the nation as a whole has seen the highest wage growth since before the recession.

“There is a reason for this (as well),” Barr said. “ We have shifted our policies in this country over the last couple of years. We had an extended period of time of the slowest economic recovery since the great depression. Typically we have a deep recession, and history suggests you have a really sharp rebound. That is not what happened. We had higher taxes, more government red tape, more regulation, more deficit spending and that slowed the economy.”

Barr said all those items combined inhibited the economic recovery, although pro businesses policies were put in place in 2017 in collaboration with the administration and unleashed free enterprise after a decade of over-regulation. Barr said deregulation took place in a lot of different sectors including energy, labor and financial services.

Barr also spoke on the tax cuts which have taken place in Congress, stating the cuts will help to achieve dramatic savings for taxpayers and help lower the tax burden on hard working middle-class Americans.

“We provided reduction at every income level,” Barr said. “We doubled the standard deduction and doubled the child tax credit. The result of individual and family tax cuts is that an average median income family will pay $2,052 less due to the tax cuts.”

The tax cuts which have been made are good for small businesses and corporate tax cuts have helped in driving economic success, Barr said.

The tax cuts, he said, is creating taxpayers, and will help grow the economy by 6 trillion dollars over the next ten years. Congress, Barr said, is delivering results in a full range of areas which also include national security and the opioid epidemic.

“We rolled up our sleeves in our committee and we worked on a bipartisan package,” Barr said. “The toughest economic sanctions ever directed at North Korea. … Our bill passed 415 to 2. Every single Democrat voted for my bill. We are making a difference to make this country safer and stronger and more secure and detour our enemies like North Korea. On opioids, we are strengthening our communities. Kentucky suffers from the third highest overdose mortality rate in the country. We owe it to our fellow citizens. This is a national epidemic…It is not just about enforcement and incarceration it is about recovery.”

Guthrie took the stage to speak after Barr and started by saying it was a blessing to be at the luncheon, and stressed the importance of wanting everyone to know that people in Congress are working together to get business done for the people in the country, regardless of what some might think.

“Most of us are here spending time trying to find areas we can work together to get things done,” Guthrie said. “There are differences and that is what elections are about. That is what campaigns are about… Once they are over we don’t try and put our differences away we still try and bring our points forward. But it is not an environment there (in Congress) where we are always trying to find the time where we disagree. … We put those differences aside when we agree on the policy. That is a point I want to make because you don’t see it — and if I don’t tell you, you won’t know it.”