Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Associate Professor Stephen Voss’ name. The error has been corrected. (March 22, 2023)

WASHINGTON — Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, has been representing Kentucky’s 6th congressional district, which includes the Lexington area, since 2013.

What You Need To Know

  • Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, is leading a powerful finance subcommittee on Capitol Hill this term

  • The to-do list for the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy is growing after the Silicon Valley Bank collapsed earlier this month

  • Barr also received a spot on the Select Committee on Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. This panel was created with bipartisan support when Republicans took control of the House in January

Barr is serving as a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee and was named chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy.

In that role, Barr oversees the operations and policy development of the prudential regulators, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Reserve and its 12 reserve banks.

“My responsibility is oversight of the Federal Reserve System, both in its conduct of the nation’s monetary policy, and it’s supervision of financial institutions,” Barr said in an interview with Spectrum News.

The committee’s to-do list became bigger with the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank earlier this month.

“The regulators had the tools they needed to prevent bank runs, but simply weren’t paying close enough attention to the warning signs around SVB,” Barr said in a tweet. 

Barr’s goals as the chair of this subcommittee include working to find ways to reduce inflation.

“We’re overseeing the nation’s regulation of both banks and non-banks in our credit markets,” Barr explained. “It’s really a great opportunity for us to advocate for policies that will lower the cost of living for my constituents.”

Barr claims that “one party rule in Washington” last term led to overspending.

“We really feel like the oversight to put a stop to the overspending, to put a stop to the overregulation, or shine a light on the overregulation, is a way to help,” Barr said. 

In addition to his role on the Financial Services Committee, Barr received a spot on the new Select Committee on Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. This panel was created with bipartisan support when Republicans took control of the House in January.

The panel’s chairman, Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., said that he believes the Chinese Communist Party poses a threat to all Americans.

“Not just Republicans, not just Democrats,” Gallagher told Spectrum News. “We may be waking up too slowly, but we are all waking up.”



The committee plans to look at all dimensions of competition with China, including the security and privacy concerns surrounding the Chinese-owned app TikTok.

“Where I plug in is my experience on the Financial Services Committee looking at our capitol markets,” Barr said. “The question is, should Chinese military surveillance and technology companies have access to our capital markets? Should Americans and American investors be unwittingly financing the rise of Red China? And, the answer is no.”

Although China poses major strategic and economic challenges to the United States, political analysts point out that a focus on China may not pay political dividends for lawmakers when they seek re-election.

“On one hand, you know, voters like that their member of Congress is important and is rising in leadership structure,” said Stephen Voss with the political science department at the University of Kentucky. “One the other hand, they get grumpy. They say, ‘why focus on foreign policy?’ We want you to focus on issues here at home.”

In addition to that committee work, Barr continues to serve as co-chairman of the Bourbon Caucus. Although caucuses don’t have the same power that congressional committees do, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have joined this group with the goal of strengthening the bourbon industry. That industry that has a huge economic impact on the state of Kentucky.

Barr has served as co-chairman before, but this term, freshman Rep. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, is joining him. Barr said the two plan to work together to “protect this signature Kentucky industry.”