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Joe Barton

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 6th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 1985
Preceded by Phil Gramm

Born September 15, 1949 (1949-09-15) (age 60)
Waco, Texas
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Terri Barton
Residence Ennis, Texas
Alma mater Texas A&M University, Purdue University
Occupation Engineer
Religion Methodist

Joseph Linus "Joe" 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.



Barton was born in Waco, Texas to Bess Wynell Buice and Larry Linus Barton.[1] He graduated from Waco High School. He attended Texas A&M University in College Station on a Gifford-Hill Opportunity Award scholarship[2] 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 Secretary of Energy James B. Edwards. Later, he began consulting for Atlantic Richfield Oil and Gas Co. before being elected to Congress in 1984.[3]

Barton was elected to represent Texas's 6th congressional district in his first attempt, defeating Democratic opponent Dan Kubiak with 56% of the vote in a contest to succeed Phil Gramm, who left his seat to run for the United States Senate that year. He was one of six freshmen Republican congressmen elected from Texas in 1984 known as the Texas Six Pack. He received 88% of the vote in 2000, 71% of the vote in 2002 against Democratic challenger Felix Alvarado, and 66% of the vote in 2004 against Democratic challenger Morris Meyer.[citation needed]

In 1993, Barton ran in the special election for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the resignation of Lloyd Bentsen, who became Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration. Barton finished third in the contest and missed a runoff slot.[citation needed]

Congressman Barton is the Ranking Minority Member on the Energy & Commerce Committee.[4]

Legislative work

  • Former Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee,[5][6] primary House author of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and chairman of the House-Senate energy conference committee.[citation needed]
  • Both initiated and eliminated "safe harbor" provision for MTBE (in Energy Policy Act of 2005).[7][8]
  • Co-founded the Congressional Privacy Caucus, cosponsor of the anti-spyware SPY ACT, initiated reauthorization of the National Institutes of Health.
  • Opposed the extension of the Voting Rights Act in 2006, as did many Republicans for its bilingual ballot printing requirements, with Southern Republicans in particular objecting to their states being held to the stigma of their voting practices in the 1950s and required to report to the federal government for something as small as moving a polling place from one church to another.[9]
  • A list of all bills that Representative Barton has introduced is available at Sponsored Bills and amendments at Amendments.
  • Barton has been the lead representative in forcing the switch from analog to digital TV and auctioning off the public airwaves to private companies.
  • Barton has actively obstructed implementation of clean air standards, work that has earned him huge pay-offs from companies such as Texas Industries which operated a cement kiln in Midlothian, Texas and burns hazardous waste for fuel with insufficient technology to prevent the resulting air pollution throughout North Texas.[10]

Committee assignments

  • Committee on Energy and Commerce (Ranking Member)
    • As Ranking Member of the full committee, Rep. Barton may serve as an ex officio member of all subcommittees.

Caucus memberships

  • Founding Co-Chairman of the Congressional Privacy Caucus

Environmental record

Rep. Barton has been regarded as a global warming skeptic[5] and his opposition to addressing global warming has been consistent and long-term. As a chairman with primary responsibility over the energy sector, Barton has consistently acted over the years to prevent congressional action on global warming.[11] In 2001, Barton declared, "as long as I am chairman, [regulating global warming pollution] is off the table indefinitely. I don't want there to be any uncertainty about that."[12] Barton led opposition to amendments that would have recognized global warming during consideration of the Energy Advancement and Conservation Act in 2001, opposing an amendment to require the President to develop and implement a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels as called for by the non-binding United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which the U.S. is a party to.[13] In 2003, Barton again opposed amendments that would have recognized global warming during consideration of the National Energy Policy Act of 2003, opposing a nonbinding amendment that would have put Congress on record as saying that the U.S. should "demonstrate international leadership and responsibility in reducing the health, environmental, and economic risks posed by climate change."[14] In July 2003, Barton offered an amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act to remove language that both recognized global warming and called on President Bush to reengage with the international community to find solutions.[15] In addition, Barton has consistently opposed proposals to reduce the nation's dependence on oil.[16][17][18]

In 2005, prompted by a February 2005 Wall Street Journal article,[19] Rep. Barton has launched an investigation into two climate change studies from 1998 and 1999.[5] In his letters to the authors of the studies, he requested not just details on the studies themselves but significant information about their entire lives and previous studies. This has been widely regarded as an attempted attack on the scientists rather than a serious attempt to understand the science,[20] although some view it as a normal exercise of the committee's responsibility and an effort to make possible scientific debate on a subject within its jurisdiction.[21][22] The Washington Post condemned Barton's investigation as a "witch-hunt".[23] Environmental Science & Technology, an obscure policy journal often cited by politicians, including Barton, reported what it said was scientific proof that global warming science is wrong.[24] See also Barton's own response to this controversy in The Dallas Morning News.[25] The dispute expanded with Sherwood Boehlert's House Science Committee taking a strong interest.[26]

In 2006, Barton earned two "environmental harm demerits" from the conservative watchdog group Republicans for Environmental Protection, the first "for derailing floor passage of a sense of the House resolution ... acknowledging climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions"; the second, "for holding hearings, in his role as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, designed to intimidate climate scientists and raise doubt about the impacts and causes of climate change."[27] The hearings were held by Barton's committee on July 19, 2006, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations; there, several skeptics testified regarding the hockey stick graph.

During Former Vice President Al Gore's testimony to the Energy and Commerce Committee in March, 2007, Barton asserted to Gore that "You're not just off a little, you're totally wrong,"[28] thus reinforcing his denial that carbon dioxide emissions contribute to global climate change.

Barton used his committee chairmanship to block the Combating Autism Act of 2006, despite overwhelming bipartisan support. Barton claimed the money steered toward environmental causes of autism were not the reason he blocked passage of the bill,[29] however, he voted for passage of the bill once the environmental language was removed.

Personal life

In 2003, Barton divorced his first wife, the former Janet Sue Winslow, with whom he has three children. Janet received some media attention as a victim of identity theft, and Barton has used her as an example when discussing identity theft legislation. He is now married to Terri Barton, and they have one child, Jack, who was born in 2005, and he has two stepchildren, Cullen Taylor and Lindsay Taylor, from Terri's previous marriage.[citation needed]

Citizens for Ethics reported that Barton paid his wife Terri $57,759 in salary and bonuses, from his campaign funds in the 2006 election cycle.[4] A spokesman said that Terri served as the campaign's outreach director and planned fundraising and special events.[6] Barton's daughter Kristin was paid $12,622 in salary and bonuses and his mother, Nell Barton, was paid $7,000 for a car.[6]

Barton's office announced that, on Thursday, December 15, 2005, he suffered a heart attack and was taken to George Washington University Hospital.[30]

Barton Family Foundation

The Barton Family Foundation was established 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 $400,000 to the local Boys and Girls Club enabling the organization to build a new facility.[31]

Congressional Vote on Financial Bailout

Congressman Barton voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 in both of its manifestations.[32][33]

Healthcare Reform

Congressman Barton voted against the Affordable Health Care for America Act.[34] FEC data shows that in his career, Barton has received almost $2.2 million from the Healthcare industry, $1.5 million of that coming from PACs. This is second only to the amount of money Barton has raised from the Energy sector. [35]

Other endeavors

Barton revealed during a congressional hearing on video games that he was a video game player. He announced that he had "worked [his] way up to Civilization IV".[36]

Barton has also 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.[37] On May 1, Barton grilled BCS 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 "the 'BS' system."[38]


  1. ^ 1
  2. ^ "Proceedings". Texas A&M University. 2004-04-06. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b ("Citizens for Ethics full and final report". Citizens for Ethics. Retrieved 2007-06-20. )
  5. ^ a b c (Roland Pease. "Politics plays climate 'hockey'". BBC. Retrieved 2007-06-20. )
  6. ^ a b c ("Report says Barton's campaign paid wife". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved 2007-06-20. )
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^
  9. ^ (Charles Babington. "GOP Rebellion Stops Voting Rights Act". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-06-20. )
  10. ^ (Frank O’Donnell. "Smokey Joe Barton Kills Air Pollution Clean-Up, Wants To Review ‘The Entire Clean Air Act’". Retrieved 2009-12-07. )
  11. ^ Senate Democrats May Pull Climate Bill -
  12. ^
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ [3]
  15. ^ [4]
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ In Climate Debate, The 'Hockey Stick' Leads to a Face-Off -
  20. ^ (Alan Leshner. "letter to Joe Barton". American Academy for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 2007-06-20. )
  21. ^ (Editorial. "Bruiser Barton". The Hill. Retrieved 2007-06-20. )
  22. ^ (Steven Milloy. "Tree Ring Circus". Fox News.,2933,163999,00.html. Retrieved 2007-06-20. )
  23. ^ (Editorial. "Hunting Witches". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-06-20. )
  24. ^ (Paul D. Thacker. "Skeptics get a journal". Environmental Science & Technology. Retrieved 2007-06-20. )
  25. ^ [5]
  26. ^ Web site for the Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives :: Welcome
  27. ^ Republicans for Environmental Protection 2006 Scorecard
  28. ^ Gore Implores Congress to Save Planet
  29. ^ *Plunkett, John. "Activists Putting Heat on Barton" Dallas Morning News, October 2006.
  30. ^
  31. ^ Keeping Lawmakers Happy through Gifts to Pet Charities, New York Times, October 19, 2008
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Rep. Joe Barton (R-Civ IV)
  37. ^
  38. ^

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Phil Gramm
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 6th congressional district

1985 – present
Political offices
Preceded by
Billy Tauzin
Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee
Succeeded by
John Dingell


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Joseph Linus "Joe" Barton (born September 15, 1949) is a Republican politician, representing Texas's 6th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1985.


  • As long as I am chairman, [regulating global warming pollution] is off the table indefinitely. I don't want there to be any uncertainty about that.
    • Congressional hearing entitled, "National Energy Policy: Coal" Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality (March 14, 2001) [1]
  • I appreciate that in China, people are hungry to prosper in the global economy. What they need is a body of elected representatives who will widely debate and freely pass a strong national energy policy. Selling China an oil company will only take pressure off its rulers and further delay the arrival of democracy.
  • Medicaid is a study in contradiction. Thanks to it, America's neediest get health care paid for by taxpayers. Often they get better health care than taxpayers can afford for themselves. The program is both 'free' and break-the-bank expensive. It lets poor people look rich and rich people look poor, and it rewards lawyers and druggists with real wealth. Medicaid works so well it's going broke.
  • I cannot imagine any objective finding that CO2 is a pollutant," he said. "If that's true, God is a polluter.


  • The American flag is an enduring symbol of liberty, democracy, and justice... Our flag honors those who have fought to protect it, and is a reminder of the sacrifice of our nation's founders and heroes. As the ultimate icon of America's storied history, the Stars and Stripes represent the very best of this nation.
  • We have this final, slim chance to break the deadlock on a comprehensive bill that will generate energy at prices people can afford to pay. I hope enough senators will come back to Washington with a new viewpoint, and that the Senate can drum up the two more votes needed to pass this legislation.
  • This year seems to have set a record for security breaches. As we have learned during three hearings, details of our personal lives are easily available from many sources, including companies like ChoicePoint and LexisNexis, that buy, store and sell our personal data without notifying us. Not only are there no market forces at work to motivate these types of companies to protect the data they accumulate, we now know that no federal law requires companies even to protect it. And if they lose it, what the heck, they don't even have to tell anyone.

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