Barr: My bill would reform debt-ceiling law
The people of Kentucky's Sixth District repeatedly tell me that it is time for Washington politicians to stop their spending spree and deal with our $17 trillion national debt.
My vote against raising the debt ceiling for the 20th time since President Bill Clinton took office in 1993 — without any real reforms to put our nation on a path to a balanced budget — came from listening to the hardworking Kentuckians who understand the old saying, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
The debt-limit law we have on the books is a failure. It doesn't limit spending; it enables accumulation of even more debt. We need a common sense approach that enacts a real limit on our debt and forces Congress to address the real problem: overspending.
That's why I introduced legislation to ensure we avoid default while holding Washington politicians who spend beyond their means accountable.
My Debt Limit Reform and Congressional Pay for Performance Act of 2014 would force Congress to focus on reducing spending to meet specific fiscal sustainability targets based on the size of our economy. It ties congressional compensation to how well Congress manages our nation's finances, providing powerful incentive to pass pro-growth policies that would grow the economy and create jobs.
My bill would force Washington politicians to focus on doing the job they were elected to do: get our fiscal house in order, save our country from bankruptcy, and generate economic growth.
U.S. Rep. Andy Barr
Raise Lake Cumberland
Sen. Mitch McConnell is to be commended for taking to the floor of the Senate and standing up for Lake Cumberland's tourism industries against the duskytail darter. He is right on target with the issue of the darter postponing the lake's rise to normal this year.
I ask the editorial board, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers where was this darter last year when the water level was over 711-feet elevation? Why is it just a problem now?
The communities surrounding Lake Cumberland appreciate all that McConnell, Sen. Rand Paul, Congressman Hal Rogers, State Sen. Chris Girdler and other local legislators are doing to rectify this situation prior to spring, 2014.
We certainly appreciated the Corps when the lake was raised 25 feet in 2013. Tourism was up, however, the anticipation was the 2014 tourism season would present Lake Cumberland at 723-feet elevation or higher.
The higher elevation dictated the conversations at the Boat & Travel shows both in Louisville and Cincinnati. The negative press created since 2007 gave the impression there was no water in the lake.
Lake Cumberland is the third-largest lake in Kentucky at elevation 680 feet, 705 feet or at normal summer pool of 723 feet. It is the focal point of tourism surrounded by five counties in southern Kentucky.
Carloyn W. Mounce
Somerset-Pulaski County Convention and Visitors Bureau
The recent rash of irresponsible and criminal behavior of lawmakers and police officers leads me to pen this letter in hopes that individuals in positions of public trust will be held accountable for the whole of their actions.
For example, Rep. Leslie Combs discharged a firearm inside her Capitol office. According to some firearm experts, the trigger had to be pulled, its not likely that an accidental discharge occurred as she contends. However, the troubling part of this is that she was not charged with a crime.
How can that be? The average citizen would have been charged with an array of charges and had the firearm confiscated. Can you say "double standard?"
A Lexington police officer recently had his charges amended as a result of him putting his hands on someone else's child during a children's soccer game. It seems he wasn't too happy with the referee. How can that be? Ask yourself this: What would have happened to you or me if we put our hands on someone's child in a public place? Would the legal system be as forgiving?
There are other issues that reek of double standards in which those in positions to exploit their authority do so with such regularity that is simply seems the norm. Good luck to the common man.
Wage hike would hurt
Raising the minimum wage hurts just about everyone, except the wealthy and elected politicians.
The wealthy are not hurt because they're wealthy and politicians are not hurt because they can vote to raise their salaries and pension benefits each time they vote on raising the minimum wage.
Rep. Greg Stumbo, the sponsor of the bill, will receive a government pension. It's hard on taxpayers to pay for these pensions. Don't make it harder.
Minimum wage was $1 an hour when I got my first job. After one year my pay was increased to $1.50 an hour because I worked hard. Then politicians raised the minimum wage to $1.25 per hour. The same thing happened then that is happening now.
Just talk about the wage increase has already caused some local businesses to raise their prices. I know also how employees who began at minimum wage worked hard, making $10 an hour or more feel, when they see new hires getting a $3 an hour pay increase.
Also some companies will leave the state. If you can hire workers in Mexico for 95 cents an hour, why stay in Kentucky and be forced to pay $10.10?
Why do politicians ask college professors and other wealthy experts what the effect of raising the minimum wage will be? How in the world would these people know? Ask senior citizens on a fixed income who are seeing medical costs get higher each year, along with the taxes and electric bills.
We just can't afford another increase of the minimum wage.
Statehood for D.C.
Sen. Rand Paul and Attorney General Eric Holder are right: formerly incarcerated Americans deserve the right to vote.
I hope that they devote the same passion, intellect and political will toward granting citizens of the District of Columbia full voting rights through statehood.
We lost our right to vote in congressional elections with the passage of the Organic Act of 1801. Two hundred and twelve years later the situation has not changed, and 646,000 citizens who pay federal taxes ($20 billion-plus each year) are denied the ability to vote for members of Congress and control over our local government.
A law disenfranchised us and a law can reverse it. The New Columbia Admission Act, S. 132, would right this historic wrong. This bill preserves a federal district as the founders wanted but would make the residential and commercial portions of the District the 51st state.
I commend Paul and Holder for their work to grant voting rights to formerly incarcerated citizens, but what about us? What about the citizens of the District who fulfill all obligations of citizenship yet are denied its most basic rights?
I hope Paul and Holder put their principles over their politics once again and put the weight of their offices behind granting full voting rights, through statehood, to the 646,000 Americans who live in the shadows of the U.S. Capitol.