Joe L Barton

Happy New Year, Republicans! It’s Downhill From Here
Get ready for another no good, very bad year, complete with a looming constitutional crisis

If you think 2018 was bad, just wait for 2019. Above, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, walks past the annual Christmas sign in the basement of the Capitol on  Dec. 11. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — 2018 will go in the books as a bad one for most Republicans. They picked up two seats in the Senate, but lost 40 in the House. Their numbers among women in the House shrank from 23 to 13, and President Donald Trump can’t give away his chief of staff job.

Ask anyone who’s been there: The only thing worse than losing the majority in Congress is every day after that, when chairing committees and holding press conferences is replaced by packing boxes and saying goodbye to staff.

Lame-Duck GOP Rep: Trump ‘Doesn’t Know What’s About to Hit Him’
With Democrats taking over the House, Joe Barton says Trump and GOP will be buried under oversight

Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton said President Donald Trump is in for a “rude awakening” come Jan. 3. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Joe Barton has a warning for President Donald Trump and the GOP: Brace yourselves.

The Texas Republican, who is retiring in January at the end of his 17th term, said the president is in for a “rude awakening” on Jan. 3, when the 116th Congress is sworn in and Democrats take back the House majority.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Fudge on Trump’s hush money, Love on women in the GOP, and staffer shuffle

Onetime Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone, left, and InfoWars host Alex Jones hold a news conference before attending the House Judiciary Committee hearing on political bias and Twitter on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for it. We look, but we don’t find everything. We want to know what you see too.

5 Not-So-Newbies to Watch on Election Day
These midterm candidates were once congressional staffers

If Young Kim comes to Capitol Hill, it will be a homecoming of sorts. She worked for California Rep. Ed Royce for years. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s no secret that those who come to Capitol Hill to work behind the scenes may have political aspirations of their own.

Dozens of current lawmakers were congressional staffers in a previous life. (We feature them once a month in Roll Call’s Staffer News.)

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.