|Chair of the House Energy Committee|
February 16, 2004 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Billy Tauzin|
|Succeeded by||John Dingell|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 6th district
January 3, 1985
|Preceded by||Phil Gramm|
|Born||Joe Linus Barton
September 15, 1949
Waco, McLennan County, Texas, USA
|Alma mater||Texas A&M University, College Station (B.S.)
Purdue University, West Lafayette (M.S.)
Joe Linus Barton (born September 15, 1949) is a Republican politician, representing Texas's 6th congressional district (map) in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1985, and a member of the Tea Party Caucus. The district includes Arlington, part of Fort Worth, and several small towns and rural areas south of the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex. Following the 2014 primary defeat of Ralph Hall, Barton became the dean of the Texas congressional delegation. Barton came to national prominence when he instructed a citizen at a town hall meeting to "shut up".
In terms of his positions, Barton is skeptical that manmade carbon emissions have contributed to global warming, is a proponent of the use of fossil fuels, voted in favor of the May 4, 2017 GOP plan to replace Obamacare, supports President Donald Trump's ban on immigration from Muslim-majority nations, and supports the death penalty for persons caught spying.
- 1 Early life, education, and early career
- 2 U.S. House of Representatives
- 2.1 Elections
- 2.2 Tenure
- 2.3 Committee assignments
- 2.4 Caucus memberships
- 3 1993 U.S. Senate election
- 4 Barton Family Foundation
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Electoral history
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Early life, education, and early career
Barton was born in Waco, Texas, the son of Bess Wynell (née Buice) and Larry Linus Barton. He graduated from Waco High School. He attended Texas A&M University in College Station on a Gifford-Hill Opportunity Award scholarship and received a B.S. in industrial engineering in 1972. An M.Sc. in industrial administration from Purdue University followed in 1973. Following college, Barton entered private industry until 1981, when he became a White House Fellow and served under United States Secretary of Energy James B. Edwards. Later, he began consulting for Atlantic Richfield Oil and Gas Co., before being elected to the United States Congress, in 1984.
U.S. House of Representatives
Barton made his first run for elected office in 1984, when he entered the Republican primary for Texas's 6th congressional district after three-term incumbent Phil Gramm left his seat to run for the United States Senate that year. He finished first in the five-candidate field with 42% and very narrowly defeated Max Hoyt in the runoff with 50%. He then defeated Democratic nominee and former State Representative Dan Kubiak 57%–43%. Barton was one of six freshmen Republican U.S. congressmen elected from Texas in 1984 known as the Texas Six Pack. In 1986, Barton won re-election against Democratic candidate Pete Geren, who would later be elected to Congress from a neighboring district. Barton defeated Geren 56%–44%.
During this period, Barton won each re-election with 60% of the vote or more. His worst general election performance was in 2006, when he defeated Democratic candidate David Harris 60%–37%, a 23-point margin. The 2008 election was his second worst performance, defeating Democratic candidate Ludwig Otto by a 26-point margin, 62%–36%.
Because of the increasing controversy surrounding his record in office, election battles have been increasingly contentious. In 2011, a Super PAC was formed by Texas conservative groups to remove him and several other long-time incumbents from office. The Democratic National Committee has used Barton's comments in political ads, shown nationally against all Republican candidates. Several websites have been created and dedicated to simply removing Joe Barton from office. DefeatJoeBarton.com/ was created by Democratic challengers. All content was later removed, although the site is still owned.
Barton drew three primary challengers: Joe Chow, mayor of Addison; Itamar Gelbman, a security consultant; and Frank C. Kuchar, a Dallas businessman and former preacher. Chow is Texas' first Asian-American mayor. He called Barton “the most corrupt congressman in the State of Texas.” At the end of March 2012, Barton had $1.3 million in cash on hand, compared with $28,800 for Chow, $178,000 for Gelbman, and $463 for Kuchar.
In the Republican primary on March 4, Barton won handy re-nomination to a sixteenth term in the U.S. House. He polled 32,579 (72.7 percent); his 2012 primary opponent, Frank Kuchar, trailed with 12,260 votes (27.3 percent). On November 4, Barton handily won re-election over Democratic opponent Cozad. Barton serves as the Dean of the Texas Delegation for the 114th Congress.
Barton polled 55,197 votes (68.7 percent) in a three-candidate field for the Republican House nomination in the March 1 primary election. The runner-up, Steven Fowler, received 17,927 votes (22.3 percent). To win his seventeenth consecutive term in the House, Barton then defeated in the November 8 general election the Democrat Ruby Faye Woolridge (born 1948) of Arlington, who had polled 22,954 votes (69.7 percent) in her earlier three-candidate Democratic primary. Barton finished with 159,444 votes (58.3 percent) to Woolridge's 106,667 (39 percent). The remaining 7,185 votes (2.6 percent) went to the Libertarian Darrel Smith, Jr.
In March 2011, Barton sponsored the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, which would repeal the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, signed by President George W. Bush. The 2007 law would set energy efficiency standards for light bulbs, effectively eliminating most or all incandescent light bulbs. Barton said "People don't want Congress dictating what light fixtures they can use."
- Congressional Action
- Former Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, primary House author of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and chairman of the House-Senate energy conference committee.
- Both initiated and eliminated "safe harbor" provision for MTBE (in Energy Policy Act of 2005).
- Co-founded the Congressional Privacy Caucus, cosponsor of the anti-spyware SPY ACT, initiated National Institutes of Health Reform Act of 2006.
- Opposed the extension of the Voting Rights Act in 2006
- Barton was a leading voice in Congress for forcing the switch from analog to digital TV.
- Barton has supported the auctioning off the public airwaves to private companies.
Global warming and the environment
Barton rejects the scientific consensus on climate change. In 2005, prompted by a February Wall Street Journal article, Barton launched an investigation into two climate change studies from 1998 and 1999. In his letters to climatologists Michael Mann, Raymond S. Bradley and Malcolm K. Hughes, the authors of the studies, he requested details on the studies and the sources of the authors' grant funding. An editorial by The Washington Post condemned Barton's investigation as a "witch-hunt".
During former Vice President Al Gore's testimony to the Energy and Commerce Committee in March 2007, Barton said to Gore that "You're not just off a little, you're totally wrong", stating instead that "Global Warming science is uneven and evolving." Climate scientists refuted Barton's assertion. Barton has said that cloud shape is a primary factor in global temperature. At a 2009 hearing on renewable energy, Barton said that large-scale wind power projects could slow down God's method for cooling the earth and possibly contribute to global warming. Barton has questioned the wisdom of deficit spending to fund an extensive national wind turbine energy generation grid.
Barton supports the Keystone XL pipeline. In November 2011, Barton criticized President Barack Obama for delaying his decision on the Keystone pipeline. He said "We asked him to make a decision, not to wait another two years. That's bullshit.” In 2013, when discussing the pipeline, he referred to the Genesis flood narrative in the Bible to argue that current climate change isn't man-made.
Barton has a lifetime score of 6% on the National Environmental Scorecard of the League of Conservation Voters. Barton is "a long-time denier of global warming" according to Time magazine and "a longtime skeptic of human involvement in climate change" according to HuffPost. Barton "has proved especially proficient in climate change denial" according to Pennsylvania State University professor of atmospheric sciences Michael Mann. "Barton has made a reputation for his outspoken rejection of man-made climate change, and for his support for the oil industry," according to Suzanne Goldenberg in The Guardian. Barton has "mocked human-caused climate change," according to The New York Times. Barton has been described as a "climate change denier" by Vice Media and by Organizing for America and as a "climate science denier" by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Autism bills controversy
The controversy stemmed from the conflict between two bills in the House and Senate. Barton introduced the National Institutes of Health Reform Act of 2006, while Senator Rick Santorum introduced the Autism bill. Santorum said in a CNN interview that the Senate bill was intended to be "fit into" Barton's bill in the House bill. He stated that "I was in constant conversation with him [Barton] and many House members all last week in an attempt to help the NIH bill come through the Senate, as well as try to move the Combating Autism bill through the Senate." Santorum stated that the Senate bill would investigate possible environmental causes, while the House bill would prevent that.
Barton let the bill die in committee, which upset many people who were vocal about saying Barton had sacrificed the interests of autistic children in the interests of the oil and gas companies that donate heavily to his campaign.
BP oil spill controversy
In June 2010, Barton accused the Obama administration of a "$20 billion shakedown" of oil giant BP after the company reached an agreement with the administration to establish an escrow account to pay the claims of people harmed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He made the accusation at the outset of a House hearing where BP's chief executive officer, Tony Hayward, appeared for the first time before Congress. Facing Hayward at the witness table, Barton said, "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." Prior to the establishment of the agreement, the Obama administration had been public in their criticism of BP for the oil spill.
Barton's remarks were criticized by White House spokesman Robert Gibbs and Vice President Joe Biden, GOP congressional leadership as well as by Barton's fellow Republicans, some of whom called on him to relinquish his leadership role in the House Energy Subcomittee.
Barton later said that his earlier remarks had been "misconstrued" and that he believed BP was responsible for the accident. Later that day, he issued a statement apologizing for using the term "shakedown" and fully retracted his apology to BP.
Barton favors repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare). Explaining why the American Health Care Act (the House Republicans' bill to repeal and replace for the Affordable Care Act) failed in March 2017, Barton said, "Sometimes you’re playing fantasy football and sometimes you’re in the real game. We knew the president, if we could get a repeal bill to his desk, would almost certainly veto it. This time we knew if it got to the president’s desk it would be signed.”
2011 CREW report
The organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) put Congressman Barton on its CREW's Most Corrupt Report 2011. The article states that on Barton's 2008 financial disclosure statement, he inaccurately reported on the source of a natural gas interest that he bought into. The share was purchased through a longtime donor and supporter who later died. This was discovered by the Dallas Morning News in 2010. According to the Dallas Morning News article, Barton made over $100,000 on the investment. The article and CREW Report both point out how Barton buying this undervalued asset from an "advisor" on energy issues could be a conflict of interest to the Congressman's position as the Chair of the House's Energy Subcommittee. It quotes James Thurber, a professor of government at American University, as saying "If you are elected as a public servant to try to do what is right for the public generally and then you use that position to help bring in material wealth, I think it's unethical."
CREW also reported that Barton paid his wife Terri $57,759 in salary and bonuses, from his campaign funds in the 2006 election cycle. A spokesman said that Terri served as the campaign's outreach director and planned fund raising and special events. Barton's daughter Kristin was paid $12,622 in salary and bonuses and his mother, Nell Barton, was paid $7,000 for a car.
Position on crude oil ban
Barton expressed in September 2014, his full support of the United States lifting the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports – an issue that sparked controversy among members of the Republican Party. Several research reports have found that exporting the glut of shale oil would ultimately lower U.S. and global fuel prices, rather than raise them, U.S. public opinion remains divided on the issue.
Position on online poker
Barton has expressed his desire for pro-poker legislation to come into effect on a federal level and is hoping to introduce a new bill on the subject in April/May 2015. This bill would introduce a federal-level regulatory framework that would allow for online poker to be offered in all states.
Immigration and travel
- Committee on Energy and Commerce (Chair emeritus)
- Congressional Caucus on Turkey and Turkish Americans
- Congressional Privacy Caucus (Founder/Co-Chair)
- International Conservation Caucus
- Republican Study Committee
- Sportsmen's Caucus
- Tea Party Caucus
- Congressional Cement Caucus
- House Freedom Caucus
1993 U.S. Senate election
In 1993, Barton ran in the special election for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the resignation of Lloyd Bentsen, who became United States Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration. Barton finished third in the contest, behind state treasurer Kay Bailey Hutchison and Senator Bob Krueger, thus missing a runoff slot. He divided the more conservative vote in that election with House colleague Jack Fields of Houston.
Barton Family Foundation
The Barton Family Foundation was established in 2005 to support charities within the congressman's district. His daughter-in-law, Amy Barton, is the Foundation's Executive Director. Major energy corporations, such as the Chicago-based nuclear energy producer, Exelon Corporation, make major gifts to the Foundation. In June 2008, at a time when Barton had introduced legislation to assist corporations with the recycling of spent nuclear fuel, the corporation donated $25,000 to the Foundation. Exelon has also donated $80,000 to Barton's campaign funds. The Foundation gave $90,000 to the local Boys and Girls Club, this is the only recorded donation made by the Foundation in its seven-year history.
Barton has been an advocate of a playoff system to determine a national champion for college football, even introducing legislation to require that any game being marketed as a national championship game be a part of a playoff. On May 1, 2010, Barton grilled Bowl Championship Series coordinator John Swofford, saying of the BCS that, "It's like communism. You can't fix it." He also suggested that the 'C' be dropped from the BCS and it be called "the 'BS' system."
|Year||Republican||Votes||%||Democratic||Votes||%||Third Party||Party||Votes||%||Third Party||Party||Votes||%||Third Party||Party||Votes||%|
|1984||Joe Barton||131,482||57%||Dan Kubiak||100,799||43%|
|1986||Joe Barton||86,190||56%||Pete Geren||68,270||44%|
|1988||Joe Barton||164,692||68%||Pat Kendrick||78,786||32%|
|1990||Joe Barton||125,049||66%||John Welch||62,344||33%|
|1992||Joe Barton||189,140||72%||John Dietrich||73,933||28%|
|1994||Joe Barton||152,038||76%||Terry Jesmore||44,286||22%||Bill Baird||Libertarian||4,688||2%|
|1996||Joe Barton||152,024||76%||No candidate||Skeet Richardson||Independent||28,187||14%||Catherine Anderson||Libertarian||14,456||7%||Doug Williams||U.S.T.||6,547||3%|
|1998||Joe Barton||112,957||73%||Ben Boothe||40,112||26%||Richard Bandlow||Libertarian||1,817||1%|
|2000||Joe Barton||222,685||88%||No candidate||Frank Brady||Libertarian||30,056||12%|
|2002||Joe Barton||115,396||70%||Felix Alvarado||45,404||28%||Frank Brady||Libertarian||1,992||1%||B. J. Armstrong||Green||1,245||1%|
|2004||Joe Barton||168,767||66%||Morris Meyer||83,609||33%||Stephen Schrader||Libertarian||3,251||1%|
|2006||Joe Barton||91,927||60%||David Harris||56,369||37%||Carl Nulsen||Libertarian||3,740||2%|
|2008||Joe Barton||174,008||62%||Ludwig Otto||99,919||36%||Max Koch||Libertarian||6,655||2%|
|2010||Joe Barton||107,140||66%||David Cozad||50,717||31%||Byron Severns||Libertarian||4,700||3%|
|2012||Joe Barton||145,019||58%||Kenneth Sanders||98,053||39%||Hugh Chauvin||Libertarian||4,847||2%||Brandon Parmer||Green||2,017||1%|
|2014||Joe Barton||92,334||61%||David Cozad||55,027||36%||Hugh Chauvin||Libertarian||3,635||2%|
|2016||Joe Barton||159,444||58%||Ruby Faye Woolridge||106,667||39%||Darrel Smith Jr.||Green||7,185||3%|
- Lindsay Bever, March 15, 2017, Washington Post, ‘You, sir, shut up!’: Republican congressman shouts down a constituent at tense town hall, Retrieved March 15, 2017, "...“You, sir, shut up.”... The crowd responded with a combination of apparent anger and applause, with one attendee screaming: “What is that? You don’t tell anybody to shut up! You work for us!”..."
- Andy Kroll, November 3, 2016, Rolling Stone magazine, Why Republicans Still Reject the Science of Global Warming, Retrieved May 21, 2017, "...modern-day Republican Party, protecting fossil fuels ... was a religion ... didn't have a chance in hell of persuading someone like Barton to join his cause. ... open hostility to science and evidence and facts...
- Louis Jacobson, January 15, 2015, PolitFact, Widely shared meme oversimplifies Joe Barton's 2009 comment on wind energy, climate change, Retrieved May 21, 2017
- Jay Newton-Small and Katy Steinmetz, June 18, 2010, Time magazine, Eight More Deep Thoughts from Rep. Joe Barton, Retrieved May 22, 2017, "...in the mid-1980s, Barton took a hard Texan line against spies ... he said all spies should be given the death penalty as "retribution" to fellow citizens... "We wouldn't go through the legalities that we have to because of our due process."...
- Kim Soffen, Darla Cameron, Kevin Uhrmacher, May 4, 2017, Washington Post, How the House voted to pass the GOP health-care bill, Retrieved May 22, 2017
- Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump’s travel ban; here’s where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
- ABBY LIVINGSTON AND BOBBY BLANCHARD, January 29, 2017, Texas Tribune, Texas congressional delegation largely silent on Trump travel ban, Retrieved May 21, 2017, "... Barton ... backed the ban..."
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- Barton Pushes For Analog Shut Off, Billboard (April 26, 2005).
- Lawmaker to press for digital TV deadline: Broadcasters wary because of low adoption rate, Associated Press (April 19, 2005).
- Dow Jones, FCC's Martin admits D-block spectrum bid unlikely, Mercury News (February 13, 2008).
- GOP Lawmakers Call for New Airwave Auction to Pay for National 911 Communications, Associated Press (April 15, 2008).
- "A Guide To The Climate Change Deniers In Congress". Motherboard. Vice Media. April 25, 2017. Texas' Climate Change Deniers. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
- Kaczynski, Andrew (April 10, 2013). "Republican Congressman Cites Biblical Great Flood To Say Climate Change Isn't Man-Made". BuzzFeed. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
"I don't think it's a secret that I'm a proponent and supporter of the Keystone pipeline," Barton said..."I would point out that people like me who support hydrocarbon development don't deny that climate is changing," he added. "I think you can have an honest difference of opinion of what's causing that change without automatically being either all in that's all because of mankind or it's all just natural. I think there's a divergence of evidence."...If you believe in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change. That certainly wasn't because man had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.
- Klene, Chelsea (2013-04-10). "Joe Barton Cites Great Flood To Disprove Human Role In Climate Change". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 2013-04-14. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
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I would point out that if you're a believer in in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change and that certainly wasn't because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.
- Newton-Small, Jay; Steinmetz, Katy (June 18, 2010). "Eight More Deep Thoughts from Rep. Joe Barton". Time. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
Barton is a long-time denier of global warming. He's called it "a triumph over good sense and science" and in 2007 hearings he told Al Gore , "You're not just off a little. You're totally wrong."
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- Sheppard, Kate (20 Apr 2009). "House Republicans bring strange theories and wacky witnesses to climate hearings". Grist. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up?
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Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican who once called climate change “a serious problem” and co-sponsored a bill to promote energy-efficient light bulbs, tacked right after the 2010 elections as he battled to be chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee against Joe Barton, a Texan who mocked human-caused climate change.
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- "US Representative Joe Barton of Texas Pushes In Federal Poker Bill". Cardschat. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
- Seper, Jerry (2009-04-06). "Congressman's foundation not so charitable; Barton's group gives less than 25% to public causes". Washington Times. p. A.1. Archived from the original on 2014-05-06.
- Maria Recio, Long-timer Joe Barton seeks to regain powerful chairmanship in Congress, Fort Worth Star-Telegram (May 21, 2016).
- Eggerton, John (2005-12-16). "Barton Has Heart Attack". Broadcastingcable.com. Archived from the original on 2014-05-06. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
- Weigel, David (2006-06-15). "Rep. Joe Barton (R-Civ IV)". Reason Magazine. Archived from the original on October 25, 2006. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
- "Bill would force college football playoff". ESPN. Associated Press. 2008-12-10. Archived from the original on 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
- "House committee quizzes Swofford". ESPN. Associated Press. 2009-05-01. Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
- "Office of the House Clerk – Electoral Statistics". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Archived from the original on July 25, 2007.
- "Election Results". Federal Election Commission.
- "1992 – Current ELECTION HISTORY". Secretary of State of Texas. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Joe Barton|
- Congressman Joe Barton official House site
- Joe Barton for Congress
- Joe Barton at DMOZ
- A list of all bills that Barton has introduced is available at Sponsored Bills and amendments at Amendments.
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
- Campaign contributors at Newsmeat
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- How the Wall Street Journal and Rep. Barton celebrated a global-warming skeptic: The untold story of how a front-page article and powerful U.S. politicians morphed former mining executive Stephen McIntyre into a scientific superstar Environmental Science & Technology, August 31, 2005
- "Big Oil Looking for a Government Handout, Courtesy of Joe Barton" World Internet News, April 2006,
- "Activists Putting Heat on Barton" Dallas Morning News, October 2006
- "Eight More Deep Thoughts from Rep. Joe Barton" Time, June 2010
|U.S. House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 6th congressional district
|Chair of the House Energy Committee
|Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Representatives by seniority