Joe L Barton

Remembering Tim Johnson: Congressional Baseball Game Was the ‘Love of His Life’
Former Oxley staffer died at 59 years old

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, center, sets the lineup during a scrimmage between Republican team members in 2016 with Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., right, and coach Tim Johnson, left. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former staffer and Congressional Baseball Game staple Tim Johnson died Sunday after a decade-long battle with multiple myeloma.

He died at his sister’s house in Leola, Pennsylvania, at 59 years old. He had just celebrated his birthday Oct. 3.

Flood of Money After Baseball Shooting Routed to Charities
D.C. causes to receive $700,000

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, has a word with Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., after he tagged her out at home plate during the 57th annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park on June 14, 2018. The Democrats prevailed 21-5. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Congressional Baseball Game has gotten so big that they had to find new ways to give away the money.

After a gunman opened fire on a Republican team practice in June 2017, a record number of fans attended the next two games. More than 17,000 tickets were sold in 2018.

Drug Prices Could Become a Divisive Issue for Democrats
Internal tensions over Big Pharma could be on full display next Congress

Divisions among Democrats over the pharmaceutical industry could hurt their party’s efforts to address high drug costs if they win a majority next year. (Courtesy iStock)

Democrats are making the cost of prescription drugs a pillar of the party’s health care agenda in the midterms, but if they win a majority for the 116th Congress, the party will have to grapple with internal divisions over the issue that might be magnified next year.

This campaign season has been notable for candidates pushing the party to reject corporate influence. For emboldened progressive Democrats, the party’s current plans might not be enough. Their views compete with those of new candidates from politically moderate areas with a big pharmaceutical industry presence that might be more inclined to join with longtime incumbents who sympathize more with the industry’s perspective.

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.