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Joe Barton Remains Ranking Member on House Energy Panel

Pete Sessions, a member of the House Republican leadership as the head of the campaign arm, the NRCC, provides the news:

NRCC chairman Pete Sessions, whose job it is to increase GOP ranks in the House, says Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) will likely retain his post as the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Asked last night after a House vote if Barton may face further repercussions for apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward, Sessions told reporters that Barton’s already paid his penance.

“I don’t think that’s the direction we’re headed in,” Sessions said. “…I believe that Joe has adequately addressed the issue.”

He sure has. And now Democrats plan to address the issue for the next four months or so.

It’s unbelievable that Republicans won’t even go through the motions of disciplining a member of their caucus for the sake of partisan advantage. Leaving Joe Barton out there will necessarily hurt them in November. But they cannot conceive of actually taking a guy out for shilling for Big Oil. They could have reinstated Barton after the elections. But they wouldn’t even go that far. Sometimes the whole bravado of Republicans, the attitude against showing weakness, comes back to hurt them.

UPDATE: Excited by his reprieve, Barton happily tweets about an article proclaiming he was right to apologize to BP. Didn’t he apologize for the apology at some point? He has since removed the tweet, meaning he took back his taking back of the apology for the apology. My head hurts.

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David Dayen

David Dayen

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