By Evie Fordham
In a time where bipartisanship seems rare, Rep. Andy Barr’s heart disease research bill in honor of his late wife, Carol Barr, is getting a boost from both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., who introduced a companion bill on Thursday.
Barr’s Cardiovascular Advances in Research and Opportunities Legacy (CAROL) Act funnels $20 million via the National Institutes of Health into researching conditions like mitral valve prolapse, a condition affecting around 2% of the population, including Carol Barr. She died at the age of 39 after going into cardiac arrest in 2020.
“Carol Barr was the greatest wife, mother and friend anyone could ever have. She was the most selfless and caring person I knew and she lived a life of impact and consequence. The CAROL Act is not only a tribute to her legacy but it will invest in research to prevent the tragedy that has so profoundly impacted my family from happening to others,” Barr, a Kentucky Republican, told Fox News in a statement.
“I am so grateful that my fellow Kentuckian, Leader Mitch McConnell, who Carol so admired, is leading this legislation in the Senate along with my friend, Senator Kyrsten Sinema. With this incredible bicameral, bipartisan momentum, I know we can move this legislation forward and save lives,” he continued.
McConnell spoke about the bill on the Senate floor on Thursday morning.
“The CAROL Act is a fitting tribute to a wonderful Kentuckian. It embodies Carol Barr’s lifetime of service to others. Today, I’m proud to introduce this important legislation with Senator Sinema to help prevent more families from enduring this tragedy,” McConnell said in a statement. “I’d like to applaud Congressman Barr for channeling his wife’s selfless spirit into action, and I look forward to its passage.”
Sinema, who’s known as a centrist Democrat, also praised the bill.
“I’m proud to partner with Republican Leader McConnell to fuel medical research and improve diagnostic and treatment options for Arizonans living with valvular heart disease,” Sinema said in a statement.
Barr introduced the CAROL Act in February, and it now has more than 100 cosponsors from both parties. The American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and WomenHeart endorsed the legislation.
“Women with heart valve disease are too often under-diagnosed and under-treated,” WomenHeart CEO Celina Gorre said in a statement. “We thank Congressman Barr for his leadership on this issue. WomenHeart supports this legislation, which will help to advance research and raise awareness of heart valve disease, so we can prevent future tragedies and improve health outcomes for women.”