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Bill named for late wife of Congressman Andy Barr on way to president’s desk after final passage

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr and his late wife, Carol (Photo from Kentucky Today)

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, to fund a grant program supporting research on valvular heart disease, a condition that claimed the life of his wife, is now headed to President Joe Biden after winning final Congressional approval.

The bill is known as the Cardiovascular Advances in Research and Opportunities Legacy Act, or CAROL Act, and honors Barr’s wife, Carol Leavell Barr, who lost her life in 2020 to sudden cardiac arrest most likely brought on by a ventricular arrythmia.

The measure cleared the Senate last week by unanimous consent, then won approval without dissent in the House on Monday.

During remarks on the House floor, Barr pointed out that thousands of Americans, predominately young women, lose their lives to mitral valve prolapse and other valvular heart diseases each year.

“The CAROL Act invests in the innovative research that is necessary to put high risk patients on a path to living long and healthy lives,” he said. “I can’t think of a better way to honor Carol Barr, whose selflessness and service to her community and country will be furthered through the law that will bear her name.”

Barr said the measure enjoyed bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. “I want to thank Rep. Kathleen Rice, Senator Mitch McConnell, and Senator Kyrsten Sinema for partnering with me on this bill. I can’t express my appreciation enough for the American Heart Association, WomenHeart, and the American College of Cardiology who endorsed this bill from day one and all the other advocacy groups that have helped champion this bill over the last year and a half. We got it done.”

Rice, D-NY, who served as lead House co-sponsor, noted, “I am extremely proud to help lead this bill in honor of Andy’s wife, Carol, and I’m so grateful for all of our colleagues’ support. This bill will fund critical breakthroughs in our understanding of valvular heart disease, improve our knowledge of this poorly understood condition, and someday produce a cure. I commend Rep. Barr and his family for their incredible strength and for turning grief into action. It was my honor to join you on this legislation, and I look forward to seeing it signed into law by President Biden.”

More than 20 medical-related groups were involved in advocating for the measure.

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