There has been much of speculation that gridlock will characterize the 112th Congress, but not according to Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX), ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Congressman Barton (R-TX) was first elected in 1984 as a part of the Reagan re-election class and “did not come to Washington in 1984 for gridlock, did not come to do nothing, and did not come to say no.” He says the same of 2010, “we are not here to say no.”
Barton addressed a group Wednesday at Heritage eager to hear How to Start Cleaning Up the Mess Obamanomics Made and one thing is clear: Barton is a fighter. “We have big problems in this city; we also have big opportunities,” noting a repeal of Obamacare as his first priority.
When pressed about the difficulty of repeal, Barton advised to “never back down from a fight just because you don’t want to fight if it is the right thing to do.”
Barton proved his commitment in his recent efforts fighting cap and trade legislation but his reputation for standing up for what he believes in dates back to 1985. Barton recalled a proposal from President Reagan in 1985, his first year in Congress, for a balanced budget. Barton remembers being the only Congressman voting for it even though he was advised to vote against it. “I came here to balance the federal budget and support President Reagan. I am voting yes,” he recalled in a recent Daily Caller story.
Later that day, Barton received a phone call from President Reagan thanking him for his support and an invitation to the White House that evening. “It was important in 1985 and it is important now,” Barton said of having a balanced budget.
He advocates going beyond the GOP’s plan as put forth in the Pledge for America and looking at the defense budget, entitlements, clarifying that they “want to provide the American people with benefits to which they are entitled,” in a responsible way.
Furthermore, Barton spoke of to-be Speaker Boehner’s plan to “make the system work in an open and transparent fashion.” In doing so, Barton believes he can “engage and encourage American people to be part of the process.”
Speaking of the new class, Barton explained that “conservatives want to help people; we’re for good government, for effective government,” and “not for gridlock.” And in case anyone was still wondering, “conservatives can govern and do so in a way that helps the American people.”
When asked about the concerns over how Tea Party candidates will work with “good ole boy” GOP members, Barton is not worried. “They’re standing up for the things I believe in,” he said.
Noelle Clemente is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm