U.S. Rep. Andy Barr joined a bipartisan group of freshman members of Congress today in calling on Democratic and Republican leaders to embrace the reforms necessary to address the national debt crisis. Led by U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL), twenty Republicans and eleven Democrats so far have signed a letter addressed jointly to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The group also plans to send an identical letter to President Obama.
The bipartisan group held a press conference today to discuss its goals, as well as its plans for achieving them. Video of the entire press conference is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSkXbTvH9zY. An excerpt containing Congressman Barr's remarks is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g06BhQKQJhY. A transcript of Congressman Barr's remarks, as prepared for delivery, appears below:
"Thank you, and good afternoon. My name is Andy Barr, and I represent Kentucky's Sixth Congressional District. I want to particularly single out and applaud my colleagues and friends, Congressman Murphy and Congressman Pittenger, for spearheading this bipartisan effort.
"Unfortunately, it seems a bit unprecedented these days for members of different parties to come together and focus not on partisan agendas or ideology, but on practical solutions for our nation's problems. I really believe that we don't have a choice. We live with a divided government in Washington. We have to do the hard work to come together, put aside partisan differences, and focus on solutions for the American people.
"I come from the District that was once represented by Henry Clay. Speaker Henry Clay, of course, was known as the "Great Compromiser." I believe that Henry Clay is a model for all of us in the 113th Congress. Henry Clay was dedicated to a practical commitment to compromise - but that doesn't mean that we have to compromise our core principles. It just means that we need to come together to focus on solutions.
"We're not here to suggest that we have all the solutions to our national debt crisis, but we are here to begin a conversation -- within our group; among our colleagues in Congress; and with the American people.
"Our conversation begins with our bipartisan declaration that Washington has a spending problem; and our constituents sent us here to address that problem.
"We don't accept the false choice between reducing spending on the one hand and promoting economic growth on the other. We believe it's possible to work hard enough to set priorities and creatively solve the nation's problems.
"I thank my colleagues for including me in this hopeful enterprise."