Kentucky congressman honors late wife with ‘CAROL’ Act

Rep. Andy Barr remembers his wife Carol Leavell Barr, who tragically lost her life last year to sudden cardiac arrest.
5:43 | 02/24/21

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Transcript for Kentucky congressman honors late wife with ‘CAROL’ Act
Welcome back to "Gma3" and Carol Barr, the wife of Andy Barr passed away last year from sudden cardiac arrest. She was only 39 years old. And now congressman Barr has introduced legislation honoring his late wife as well as raising awareness for heart disease called the cardiovascular advances in research and opportunities legacy act or the C.A.R.O.L. Act. Representative Barr joins us now. Congressman Barr, thank you so much for being with us. We want to offer our condolences. Your wife suddenly passed away at such a young age, just eight months ago and you have two young daughters. So I first want to ask how you're doing, how you've been holding up these past several months. Well, Amy, and T.J., thanks for having me on. We're doing okay. We miss Carol dearly. She was the best wife, mother, friend, anyone could ever have and she leaves an amazing legacy, a legacy of impact and a life of consequence even though it was a life cut too short and our two girls, Eleanor, age 9 and Mary clay, age 7 are her greatest legacy. I am sure it was rewarding in some ways, cathartic but difficult to be sitting there and writing a bill to honor your late wife, but the bill itself, the C.A.R.O.L. Act we're talking about here, how do you hope it will help folks who had kind of the heart condition she had which is, again, we should say somewhat common, but still what is it you want the bill to be able to do? Well, Carol was diagnosed with a heart valve disease when she was in seventh grade called mitral valve prolapse. For most Americans this is a very benign problem or condition that has to be monitored. We were told it's no big deal. You only have to monitor it. Only .2% of Americans who have this suffer a sudden cardiac death. Unfortunately that happened to my wife, Carol. She was only 39. It predominantly affects younger women. We don't know why but we want with this legislation to fight back against heart valve disease. We introduced the bill on heart valve disease awareness day in American heart month, February and it just goes to show because many Americans don't know this condition can be life-threatening. We know we need to raise awareness and know how important medical research is to identify those individuals with high risk factors that would put them in harm's way and potentially give them a life-threatening condition. Congressman, Eleanor, Mary clay, your two daughters there, what is their reaction, their response? What are they saying to you about this effort having to do with their mom, just what do they think about what you're doing and to see their mom's name on a piece of legislation and see daddy trying to get it through congress? Well, they knew that their mom had a big heart and the doctors told us that her heart just gave out but in many ways I think my daughters know she gave a whole lifetime of her heart in just 39 years to them, to me, to our community, and I think they will be very proud of their mommy because of what she's going to accomplish and what her legacy will mean to so many other families. W're going to save lives and my girls love their mommy forever but they'll be very, very proud of what she will contribute to many other families. I'm sure proud of her and proud of you in your efforts to do the same. While we have you hear congressman, I do want to ask you. I understand you're planning to vote no to president Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package. I'm curious why the no vote and what you would do, what would your plan be to help the millions out there suffering financially during this pandemic? Well, I think what I would do is make sure that we spent the money that we've already passed in a bipartisan way over $1.2 trillion, trillion dollars remains unspent from the C.A.R.E.S. Act and the subsequent pieces of legislation including a $900 billion relief bill that was just passed at the end of December and what it's especially disappointing is how much in this bill, the $1.9 trillion bill that's going to be voted on later this week, how much it's unrelated to the covid pandemic and the economic crisis related to it. A lot of it is just a pork barrel spending that has absolutely nothing to do with the pandemic. And I think what's most disappointing to most Americans is that we've already appropriated $68 billion to get kids back into the classroom. I don't think we're following the science when we keep these schools locked down and we have over $60 billion of already appropriated money that hasn't been spent to re-open our schools. And what's so disappointing is that this bill, $130 billion allocated for schools, K through 12 but 95% of it won't even be spent until after 2022. That's not going to get our kids back in the classroom. We can do it safely. We need to do it now. We need to focus on deploying the resources that have already been appropriated. All right, congressman Andy Barr. We appreciate you coming on the show today. We know you're a busy man so thank you for your time and all of your efforts there in honor of your wife. Thank you so much. I appreciate you all helping us raise the awareness. All right. And a special programming note here, much more on this subject on a special show tonight, "Prescription for your heart: Your heart & you" hosted by our very own Dr. Jen Ashton. That's tonight on ABC news live at 8:00 and 10:30 P.M. Eastern standard time. Lifesaving information. The high schoolers in

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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