Remember this guy?
Joe Barton is currently the senior Republican on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. He served as the Chairman of the Committee from 2004 to 2006. And is now probably in line to resume that position in January when the GOP regains control of the House of Representatives. That’s right, the clown who apologized to then-BP CEO Tony Hayward for the “shakedown” when Pres. Obama announced the $20 billion compensation fund for the Gulf coast is now likely to become the Chairman of the House committee with oversight of the oil and gas industry.
Last June, even most other Republicans tried to distance themselves from Barton’s apology. Other right-wing operatives sided with Barton. Tea Party Nation leader Judson Phillips told the Washington Post that the escrow fund was “extortion.” Barton said later that day that his original apology was a “misconstrued misconstruction.”
Barton was truly concerned about the effects of the disastrous BP oil gusher. Not the effects on the Gulf. Not the effects on small businesses on the coast. Not the effects on wildlife. No, Joe Barton was deeply concerned about BP itself:
“I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words — amounts to a shakedown, so I apologize.”
Barton has a history of close ties with the oil and gas industry. According to OpenSecrets.org, he has received almost $1.5 million dollars in campaign donations from the industry. According to Barton’s congressional website:
The Energy & Commerce Committee has arguably the broadest non tax-oriented jurisdiction of any congressional committee, with principal House responsibility over matters relating to commerce, public health and marketplace interests.
Also, according to his website:
… the Congressman said it is clear people are worried about the federal government’s overreach into their private lives. Most told him their top priority for a new conservative majority is simple – Repeal ObamaCare.
“The individual mandate, the employee mandate, the abortion funding, the tangle of outsider/insider councils like the comparative effectiveness board, and the effective nationalization of health care under grants of authority to the Department of Health and Human Services — all that has to go,” said Rep. Barton. “Our repeal efforts will also be accompanied by a simultaneous barrage of oversight hearings into the grisly details of how the administration staged in this rate-raising, job-killing frenzy.”
Rep. Barton says the new Republican Majority will also start reducing the federal budget to reign in exploding spending and deficits.
“We’ve also got to end the president’s broader spending extravaganza, and a fine place to start is through reforming the entitlement spending that now amounts to $1.4 trillion and accounts for more than half the federal budget. Two years of mismanagement have left a truckload of problems to fix, including taxes,” said Barton.
It’s only just begun.