Joe L Barton

North Dakota Senate Race Could Come Down to Fossil Fuels
The problem? Heitkamp and Cramer have strikingly similar stances on energy

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer are vying for North Dakota’s Senate seat. They’re also racing to show off their energy chops. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The two candidates in the North Dakota Senate race — a tight matchup with massive implications for control of the chamber next Congress — are touting their Capitol Hill energy policy chops to gain an edge in one of the closest contests of the midterms. 

The race has triggered an escalating argument between vulnerable Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp and her GOP challenger, Rep. Kevin Cramer, over which one is the best champion of the state’s fossil fuel industries that rank among the most productive in the nation.

Need a Cave to Stash Your Oil? Feds Might Soon Have a Deal for You
House panel advances bill to rent out excess space of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

An underground cavern at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve’s Weeks Island storage site in Louisiana. (Courtesy Department of Energy)

A bill that would allow the federal government to rent out space in the caves holding the nation’s emergency oil stockpile moved out of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee last week with bipartisan support.

The legislation was advanced Thursday by the Energy Subcommittee in a voice vote and without any amendments. The bill would authorize the Energy Department to enter into lease agreements with private companies or foreign governments to store petroleum products in the excess space of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that will result from congressionally mandated drawdowns set to occur over the next decade.

Report: Barton Set Up Legal Defense Fund to Deal With Nude Photo Fallout
Texas Republican congressman is retiring at the end of this term

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, got approval from the House Ethics Committee to set up a legal defense fund for expenses for “matters bearing on his reputation or fitness for office.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Rep. Joe Barton set up a legal defense fund earlier this summer after a nude photo of himself that he sent to a woman was leaked last year. 

Documents show Barton set up the fund in June after the House Ethics Committee gave him permission to do so for expenses regarding “official duties and position in Congress, and matters bearing on his reputation or fitness for office,” the Dallas Morning News reported.

How Joe Barton Struck Out
Retiring Texas Republican was thwarted by his own political instincts

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, faces retirement after a sex scandal. His career in Washington had already reached its peak. (CQ Roll Call)

Leadership be damned, Rep. Joe L. Barton thought. He knew he was right, and as soon as he was convinced of that, hardly anything in the world could move him.

Just a few months into his first term, the Texas Republican was angling for something between protest and revolution. House Democrats had voted to declare themselves the winner of a contested Indiana House race — in Republicans’ eyes, a theft. While his own party’s leadership urged restraint, Barton fumed.

Retiring Republican Partly Blames GOP Hardliners for Immigration Failure
Texas Rep. Joe Barton says party is shooting itself in the foot

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, said his own party is partly to blame for the failed immigration compromise. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As prospects dim for Congress to pass immigration reform before the term’s end, one retiring Republican involved in last month’s compromise effort says his own party’s hardliners are partly to blame.

“Political demagoguery on both sides” stamped out the recent push by House leadership to pass a comprehensive immigration bill, Texas Rep. Joe Barton said.

Republican Michael Cloud Sworn In to House, Replacing Blake Farenthold
Newest member of the House cuts number of vacancies to six

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., conducts the mock-swearing in for Rep. Michael Cloud, R-Texas, in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Republican Michael Cloud took the oath of office on Tuesday, becoming the latest member of the House and bringing the whole number of the chamber to 429, comprised of 236 Republicans and 193 Democrats, with six vacancies.

A media consultant with roots in his church and local Republican Party, Cloud describes himself as a constitutional conservative.

Walden Won’t Give Odds on Horse Racing Bill Leaving the Gate
Barr urges colleagues not to mix betting and horse doping with amendments to his bill

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Greg Walden says he’s open to advancing a proposal to regulate parts of the horse racing industry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden said Friday he remained open to advancing a bipartisan proposal that would establish a national authority for regulating doping and medication in horse racing.

But after a raucous Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearing that revealed an industry divided over how to address the issue, the Oregon Republican was unwilling to commit to moving a proposal from GOP Rep. Andy Barr of Kentucky. Barr’s bill has 125 co-sponsors, 75 of them Democrats.

House Passes Bipartisan Opioid Bill Package
Bill ‘does not adequately deal with the magnitude of the crisis,’ Pallone says

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon helped put together the opioids package that passed Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Friday passed a bill that will serve as the legislative vehicle for many of the 55 other House-passed bills designed to curb opioid addiction, ending two weeks of floor votes on opioids measures.

The catchall bill, which advanced 396-14, would incorporate a number of proposals from the Energy and Commerce and the Ways and Means committees relating to Medicaid, Medicare, and public health. A group of 161 patient advocacy groups wrote to Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi this week in support of the legislation.

Democrats Score Big in 21–5 Baseball Blowout Over GOP
Steve Scalise makes the game’s first out in feel-good moment of the night

Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., is tagged out by Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., to end the 57th annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park on Thursday. The Democrats prevailed 21-5. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats continued to show their dominance on the diamond Thursday night with a massive 21–5 win over the Republicans at the 57th annual Congressional Baseball Game. 

“More of a football game than a baseball game, but I think both sides gave it their all,” New York Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley said of the score after the game. 

How Life Imitates the Congressional Baseball Game
The annual classic brings out a softer side of the legislative branch

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., escorted by U.S. Capitol Police Special Agent David Bailey, leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington on Wednesday. Scalise was shot and injured last year at a practice for the Congressional Baseball Game. Bailey was also injured in the attack. Unable to play last year because of his injuries, Scalise will be on the field at Thursday’s game. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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“This game is a situation of which, you’re a product of your political success, so if you have a good political year, you have a good recruiting year for this game.” So said former Rep. David Bonior, D-Mich., many years ago about the Congressional Baseball Game and the teams each party gets to field.