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Barr, who won a rematch with Democrat Ben Chandler after losing the 2010 race by fewer than 700 votes, has made energy a top priority. Come January, he will push back against regulations issued by the EPA and other agencies that he says stifle energy production and economic activity.
Barr supports coal gasification, development of natural gas deposits, the Keystone XL pipeline, and more access to offshore and Arctic oil and gas reserves. He will join others who want to rein in EPA rules against utilities use of coal and will fight any efforts to set up a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions.
Outside the energy sector, he will support a major revamp of the tax system and cuts in federal spending.
Barr says regulatory burdens and potential tax hikes prevented the economy from bouncing back strongly from the recession. He pledged during his campaign to "support real tax reform that will promote growth, create jobs and unleash the American people from the burden of high taxes."
He says the 2010 health care law also weighed down employment growth by saddling the economy with $675 billion in prospective tax increases. Barr wants Congress to halt all tax hikes slated to take effect in 2013, then overhaul the tax code to broaden the base and cut marginal rates. He would end the alternative minimum tax and estate tax, but expand tax-free savings accounts such as 401(k) plans.
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