House Democrat: Delay the individual mandate for a year

John Barrow

Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) joined the chorus of Democrats urging relief for Americans who could be hit with ObamaCare’s individual mandate tax because of the ongoing problems with the federal health insurance exchange website.

“Since October 1st, millions of Americans have attempted to access to try to learn about the health insurance coverage they’re required to buy. And every day, we’re learning more and more about the problems they’re facing,” said Barrow on Wednesday. “Folks are frustrated, and rightfully so.”

Barrow introduced legislation at the beginning of the year that would repeal a few of the most controversial provisions in the law, including the individual mandate and the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB, also referred to as “death panels”). He has also co-sponsored a measure introduced by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) to repeal the employer mandate.

House Democrat wants repeal of ObamaCare’s employer mandate

John Barrow

Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) says that the administration’s delay of ObamaCare’s employer mandate is not enough and that Congress needs to fully repeal of the onerous provision.

In speech yesterday from the House floor, Barrow urged leadership bring H.R. 903 — the American Job Protection Act, legislation sponsored by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) — up for a vote before the chamber.

“Just over a week ago, the Administration announced a one-year delay of the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act.  While a temporary delay is a good thing for businesses, a full repeal would be even better,” said Barrow. “Businesses in my district in Georgia have made very clear that the employer mandate would prevent them from expanding their businesses or hiring workers.  One of the main reasons I voted against this law in the first place was because too many job creators in my district simply can’t afford the costs of the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act.”

“We can fix this, however. I’m proud to be leading the effort to fully repeal the employer mandate, along with two of my colleagues from across the aisle. We know that this can be fixed, and we’ve got the bipartisan legislation to do it,” he added. “I urge my colleagues to swiftly bring up the full repeal of the employer mandate and make this delay permanent, so businesses across the country can get back to creating the jobs we need.”

The mandate would cost employers $150 billion over the next 11 years, according to information provided on Barrow’s House website, and lead to a loss of more than 3 million jobs.

House Democrat unloads on White House over $100 million Africa trip

The White House is beginning to feel pressure over President Barack Obama’s planned $100 million trip to Africa — and it’s not just coming from Republicans.

The trip comes despite the Obama Administration’s frequent complaints about the sequester, which took effect in March. Rep. John Barrow, a Democrat from Georgia, criticized the White House for this extravagant spending in a short speech from the House floor on Thursday.

Though he was errant in his criticism of the sequester, which merely cuts the rate of spending growth over the next 10 years, Barrow noted that the cost of the trip is roughly the impact the spending cuts will have on Georgia’s economy.

“Very soon thousands of folks in my district in Georgia, and even more across the state, will be furloughed as a result of the budget sequester. Studies have shown that the sequester will cost the Georgia economy approximately $107 million,” said Barrow. “Meanwhile, reports circulated this week that President Obama’s upcoming trip to Africa will cost the taxpayers nearly $100 million.”

“Mr. Speaker, no one here questions the need for security for our Commander-in-Chief. But we do question the need for such expensive trips when so many folks across the country are being forced to cut back because Congress can’t get its act together,” continued Barrow. “A trip of this magnitude isn’t unusual, but these are hard times.  One hundred million dollars could be better used to keep folks on the job.

“I urge the President, and everyone at the federal level, to lead by example, and not take the fact that Congress can’t get it’s act together and rub that in the faces of hard working Americans, he pointedly added.

Here’s video of Barrow’s speech:

NRCC’s contradictions on spending

John Barrow

Yesterday, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) released two statements attacking Rep. John Barrow (D-GA), who has been a GOP target for the last few election cycles and has been the subject of periodic attacks since the end of the 2012. Needless to say, Barrow is on their radar in 2014.

However, after reading both of them back to back, I can’t help but be a little puzzled.

The first statement, which came in just before noon, slammed Barrow over his vote for the Budget Control Act. This bill was a result of the debt ceiling fight back in 2011 and was supposed to cut spending by $1.2 trillion at the beginning of the year. Fear of the so-called “fiscal cliff” delayed those cuts until March 1st.

The NRCC is trying to lump Barrow and Obama in the same boat. The statement called the cuts about to take place the “Barrow-Obama Sequester” and claims that “John Barrow’s continued support of Obama’s Sequester is about to hit hardworking middle class and military families in Georgia.”

Of course, it’s an inconvenient truth to point out that Barrow, a Democrat, joined 174 Republicans in voting for the sequester. Despite the fact that nearly 75% of their caucus voted for the sequester, some Republicans have been losing their minds over the defense spending cuts that are scheduled to take place. They’ve tried to substitute those cuts with non-defense discretionary spending, but have been unsuccessful in moving them through the Senate.

GA-12: Americans for Tax Reform targets Rep. John Barrow

John Barrow

Last month, a pro-Democrat “super PAC” targeted State Rep. Lee Anderson, who is challenging U.S. Rep. John Barrow in Georgia 12th Congressional District, in an ad for signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge from Americans for Tax Reform.

The ad, produced by Center Forward, claimed Anderson, a Republican, “signed a special interest pledge that keeps tax breaks for companies that ship out American jobs.” That, of course, is misleading, if not outright false. The pledge simply states that the candidate will “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses” and “oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) has decided not to sit on the sidelines in this race any longer. In a new ad slated to run in Southeast Georgia in a $496,000 buy, ATR is coming right after U.S. Rep. Barrow, hitting him on supporting President Barack Obama’s runaway spending spree, including his support of the 2009 stimulus bill.

Here’s the ad:

Dem Super PAC lies about Taxpayer Protection Pledge in Georgia congressional race

John Barrow

There are many congressional races that are going make the election this November fun to watch. Odds are that Republicans will keep the House of Representatives, but how big will their majority be come January 2013?

My home state of Georgia has managed to an interesting race or two in the last couple of cycles. In 2010, then-Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA) was knocked off by Austin Scott, who has gone on to become the president of the freshman GOP class. Marshall’s district had been a Republican target before, in 2006 and 2008, but GOP nominees met a tough, and unwilling electorate.

This year about bring fireworks in the Peach State as Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) is facing a tough bid for re-election this year thanks to his district, GA-12, recently being redrawn by the state legislature. The Cook Political Report has the seat rated as “Lean Republican.”

Such challenges aren’t new to Rep. Barrow, who managed to fight off a tough challenge in 2004 from former Rep. Max Burns (R-GA). Despite being biannually mentioned as a vulnerable member, Barrow has survived.

This year’s challenge is more formidable. With the Republican-controlled legislature making the district more amenable to their party, Barrow now finds himself as one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the House. Of course, Barrow realizes this, which is why he voted against cap-and-trade, for extending current tax rates, and for both contempt resolutions against Attorney General Eric Holder.

Blue Dog explains his health care vote

Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) explains his vote against ObamaCare:

Late Saturday night, the House of Representatives voted on H.R. 3962, the “Affordable Health Care for America Act.” Health care reform is one of the most critical issues facing this nation right now, and fixing the problem in a way that is sustainable over the long haul has to be one of our top priorities. I don’t think the bill that was before us does a good enough job of reaching that goal, and that’s why I couldn’t support it.
Unfortunately, the bill does a very poor job of regulating the insurance industry. Most of the insurance reforms we desperately need to protect folks from being denied coverage because of preexisting conditions, or from having their policies cancelled when they get sick, won’t begin to kick in for another five years. The Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” won’t be closed for 10 years. And there is no mechanism in place to prevent the private insurance companies that currently cover over half of the people in the country from raising premiums at will, and plenty of incentives for them to squeeze even more money out of us while they still can.

Worst of all, the bill does not rein in overall health care spending. Last week I met with Doug Elmendorf, the Director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. He confirmed that this bill would actually increase the amount of money we as a nation spend on health care, and increase the federal government’s share of what we as a nation spend on health care, over the next two decades. If we don’t reverse these trends, paying the insurance companies more than we should pay for the service that they provide will be the least of our worries.

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