News from Congressman Barr

August 6, 2021

Congressional Update from U.S. Congressman Andy Barr

Bombshell Foreign Affairs Committee Report on COVID-19 Origins

This week, House Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) released a report concluding that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) lab is the likely source of the COVID-19 virus.  HFAC Republicans laid out convincing evidence that substantiates the lab leak theory.  You can read the full report here.  Some of the key highlights are below:

  • The sudden removal of the WIV’s virus and sample database in the middle of the night on September 12, 2019 and without explanation.
  • Safety concerns expressed by top PRC scientists in 2019 and unusually scheduled maintenance at the WIV.
  • Athletes at the Military World Games held in Wuhan in October 2019 who became sick with symptoms similar to COVID-19 both while in Wuhan and also shortly after returning to their home countries.
  • Multiple requests for maintenance at the WIV, including one for their “hazardous waste treatment system.”
  • Confirmation that WIV scientists have been able to genetically modify coronaviruses without leaving a trace of that modification since 2005.  

HFAC Republicans recommend an immediate pause on federal funding for the genetic enhancement of viruses to make them more potent at least until an international standard for this research is set.  This type of research is also known as “gain-of-function” research. 

Alarming Economic Numbers

The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) released data this week that 49% of small businesses reported job openings for positions they could not fill.  This is the highest number NFIB has ever recorded for this statistic.

Small businesses continue to be in direct competition for workers with the government because Kentucky is still providing enhanced emergency unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.  Prolonging emergency UI benefits threatens economic growth and the survival for of small businesses. 

Additionally, reckless spending and borrowing is catching up to us with rampant inflation.  Back to school shopping this year is estimated to cost an average of $860 per family, an 8% increase over last year.  The consumer price index (CPI) rose by 5.4% in June, the highest increase in 13 years.  Inflation has risen every month since President Biden took office. 

In Washington, I am fighting to bring fiscal responsibility and conservativism back to protect hard working Kentucky families and taxpayers from skyrocketing inflation.

Accessing Emergency Rental Assistance

Congress provided over $46 billion in funding to assist renters and landlords during the pandemic.  Less than 10% of this funding has been distributed to renters.  Renters in Kentucky can find out more about the emergency rental assistance (ERA) program here.  Also, renters in Lexington can apply through the city here

Sincerely,

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Congressman Andy Barr

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