tv U.S. House of Representatives Rep. Joe Barton Farewell Speech CSPAN January 1, 2019 3:35am-4:06am EST
plan to reopen other federal agencies through september 40th, sending hundreds of thousands for federal employees back to work. after the opening day, the house will be live here on c-span in the senate on c-span2 area -- c-span2. >> when the new congress takes office in january, it will have the youngest and most diverse freshman caress in history. new leaders, watch it live on c-span starting january 3. a number of members of congress gave their farewell speeches before the government shutdown started area here are a few of them. republicans has represented texas is six district since 95.
at the ripe old age of 34, i stood right here in the well of the house with my 2-year-old daughter, kristen, and my -- in my left arm, held up my right hand and took the oath to defend the constitution of the united states of america against all enemies foreign and domestic to the best of my ability. i was one of 43, i believe, that year, freshmen. we had a little over 30 republicans and a dozen or more democrats. as soon as i took the oath, i walked over to the hopper and yes there really is a wooden pper here in the well of the house over on the -- as i look out on the right hand side as the audience looks in, on the left hand side. balanced the barton
budget amendment into the hopper that constitutional amendment in 1995 was the number one item in the contract with america. which when the republicans took over the house majority for the first time since 1954, we voted on this same floor the first day we were in session in january of 995 on my amendment. it failed, it didn't get the 2/3 vote necessary. we stripped out the tax limitation requirement and brought it back up for a vote and it did pass by 2/3 margin. that amendment went to the senate and it failed by one vote in the senate. since that day in january, mr. speaker, of 1985, as i stand here on the house floor tonight,
i have voted over 19,00 times on behalf of the people of the sixth district of texas. i have an attendance record of 94%. i've had a large number of bills that i've sponsored become law. i'll talk about some of those in a minute. in this current house, in the 115th congress, i'm number eight in seniority. there are four republicans ahead of me and three -- i guess two democrats. in the all-time history of the house of representatives, house historian is not sure where i stand seniority wise but i am in the top 100. in the texas delegation, we've had about 250 congressmen represent the great state of texas. and i'm tied for eighth place in
seniority. in texas. and the folks ahead of me are an all-star list of former congressmen. sam rayburn who was speaker of the house. wright patman, chairman of the ways and means committee. george mahone, chairman of the appropriations committee. bud poe, who was chairman of the ag committee. jack brooks who chared the judiciary committee. henry gonzalez who chaired the banking committee. and jim wright, who was majority leader and speaker of the house. that's not bad company, mr. speaker. for service from texas. some of the bills that i'm proud of that have become law, that i was the leader on or the chief ponsor of, we started with the
tax limit akes -- limitation balanced budget amendment, that did not become law but it did pass the house, did go to the senate, did fail in the senate by one vote. i sponsored a bill that reformed the national institute of health. that was the last bill that passed the house and senate in he -- in december of 2006. in january of 2007, the democrats took the house back and congresswoman pelosi of california became speaker, then-speaker denny hastert kept the house floor open until, i believe, 3:00 in the morning, so that my n.i.h. bill could clear the senate and come back. that n.i.h. bill created a common fund that has been utilized to form some of the
cutting edge research that is now bearing fruit. the immune cell therapy that is helping in some cases cure cancer. is one result of that. some of the stem cell research that's going on is another red light -- is another. i'm very proud of the n.i.h. bill. we passed an f.d.a. reform bill that again has helped reduce times to bring new drugs to market. it cut some of the red tape in getting new drugs and medical devices approved by the f.d.a. in the energy sector, as a young congressman, i sponsored a bill to decontrol wellhead prices of natural gas. that bill was signed into law as part of a larger bill signed into law by president george .w. bush who just passed away.
in 2005, i was chairman of the energy and commerce committee and i passed -- led the effort to pats what was called the energy policy act of 2005. hat bill included a reform and review of import-export facilities. which we're now using to permit l.n.g. facilities to export our natural gas everseas. that bill also had a number of authorizations for renewable fuels and alternatives that has led to wind energy becoming a significant factor in this country and solar power becoming a significant factor in this country. it authorized some subsidies and protections for farm-grown ethanol which has led to the
ethanol industry becoming a significant factor in some parts of the country. t also protected hydraulic fracturing from federal e.p.a. jurisdiction except in a few limited circumstances. and that one thing, if we hadn't done anything else, has led to natural gas il and production in this country that is the envy of the world. three years ago, with congressman henry cuellar, my good democratic friend from laredo, we sponsored and passed the bill that led to the repeal of the ban on crude oil exports, mr. speaker. at the time people kind of poopooed that bill but as i stated -- as i stand here on the house floor this evening in this month of december, 2018, there
are going to be day this is month that we export more crude oil than we import. and that is a huge, huge accomplishment. and we're doing it based on market principles, the u.s. is now the number one producer of crude oil in the world, surpassing saudi arabia, and ussia. we're producing in the neighborhood of 12 million barrels of oil a day, that number is going to go up, literally the sky is the limit. the lord has blessed the united states of america with great natural resources and with the energy legislation that i have helped to lead the fight on and to help get passed, we have human resources and capital resources and natural resources that the united states is going to be the leader in energy production and energy innovation
for the foreseeable future. you know, next 40, 50, 60 years. and i'm very proud of that. mr. speaker. but some of the -- is i could talk for quite some time, mr. speaker, about my legislative accomplishments, but you really don't run for congress just to legislate. this is the people's house. you're expected to be an ombudsman for the people you represent , in my case, the sixth district of texas. which has changed because of redistricting three times since i've been elected. but the core is kind of south-central texas, ellis county, navarro county, tarrant county and at various times we've gone as far south as
montgomery country -- montgomery county, gone up into tarrant and parker county in the west, hood county and hill county. it's currently configured, a little over 600,000 people. when you run for congress, mr. speaker, you really run because you want to help people. you want to be their spokesperson. on the house floor. but also with bureaucracy, with executive branch, and in some cases with the private sector. to make sure that they get a fair shake. year we have en ver 1,000 pending cases in the district and success rate of around 80%, some of those cases stand out more than others. i want to give you a few.
as a young congressman back in got a e 1980's, we still lot of what i call real mail, letters, handwritten letters from people. and one night i was in my office in longworth, going through the mail and jotting down responses or looking at draft responses that my staff had prepare and i came across a letter from an 11-year-old boy, mr. speaker, in burleson, texas. name was garrett roper. garrett roper, 11 years old. and i am going to paraphrase his letter but it was dear congressman barton, my name is garrett roper, i'm 11 years old, i live in burleson, texas, i had a good friend, adam settle, who is also 11, he was riding a
three-wheel a.t.v. on his grandparents' farm and it flipped over, crushed his chest and killed him. what are you going to do about hat, what can you do? and i thought about it. i didn't know i could do anything about it. but he had a phone number in his letter. every congressman has a phone on his desk and i picked up the phone on my desk and i dialed the number and probably about 9:00 at night, in any event, the little boy's mother answered the phone, and i said, i'm congressman joe barton and calling from washington d.c. could i talk to garrett roper and she said you are who? i said this is congressman bart
op. she said, well, he is in the bathtub. i said could you ask him to come out of the tub and talk to me. i identified myself. i said did you write me a letter. he said, yes, i did. i said i read it ap i'm not sure what i'm going to do. i'm going to try but what do you want me to do? -wheelers are unsafe and i want you to prevent that other boys won't get hurt or be killed. to make a long story short, that issue was in the issue of the energy and commerce committee, i was the junior member in the
minority party. john dingell was the chairman. at that time, he was the powerful chairman and i was a junior member in the minority and the ranking member was norm lent of new york. they decided that it needed to be investigated and did an investigation and we had a hearing, a number of hearings. and the justice department came to the a.t.v. industry, the nsumer safety prouth commission and the bill little boy's mother who killed and settled who today is my best friend, she came and testified. and over a three-year period, i believe it was three years, a inconsistent agreement was formed between the justice
department and the consumer product safety commission and the a.t.v. industry and the congress. and that consent agreement was signed and ratified and a.t.v.'s, three-wheelers were taken off the u.s. market. and when it expired, i don't know if the agreement was renegotiated. but nipt, the three-wheelers did not come back and the industry really moved to four wheelers which are much safer and not nearly as dangerous. that one letter from that one little boy who was 11 years old who his congressman made a huge ifference to save thousands of injuries, made the country
safer. and it took that little boy making that letter to his congressman and then that congressman and in that case was me. picking up the phone, calling the little boy and calling the congressman and people in the executive branch, people in the industry, made a difference. difference you another case. a young woman, i believe she ved in texas named robin vinton and she was a nurse and her mother was ill and quit her job and moved down to houston to ake care of her. took out insurance on an individual basis instead of a group basis where she had worked and moved back after her mother improved. and robin developed breast
cancer. double -- she had cancer in both breasts and the insurance company that she had been covered by dropped her coverage and returned her premiums and told her that they wouldn't cover her. needed ors said she immediate surgery. she wrote my office in arlington and asked for help. my staff looked into it and touched base with the insurance company and the insurance company checked their fields and didn't believe they had the right to cancel her coverage and the staff brought the file to me and this was a desperate situation, mr. speaker. cow hecked with susan g.
men foundation in dallas and got their take on it and i called the president of that insurance company and i said it's my opinion that your internal review made a mistake. i think this woman should be insured by your company and i hink her surgery should be covered. and i would sure like for you to take a look at it. and if i'm not fack actualityly correct, i won't pursue it. but if i am, i would ask that you would re-institute your insurance. he checked his facts and the case file and called me back and said you are right, congressman, we should cover her and they did and she had the surgery and to
my knowledge, mr. speaker, she's alive today. that's the power of the congress, the power of the people, the power of an individual asking their congressman for help and in this case, the private sector checking the facts out and agreeing that the facts dictate that the woman should have been insured. i'll give you one more capital. when i was chairman of the energy and commerce committee we got jurisdiction over the internet and we have an investigation, oversight he subcommittee of child porn in america and we had a number of witnesses in and number of hearings and the f.b.i. set up a special task force on child pornography and we asked if they could send someone, one of their
agents who was involved in that task force to testify. and the f.b.i. said their policy was their agents didn't testify before congress. and we went back and forth, staff and f.b.i., staff and without any resolution. and then i saw that a particular individual from the f.b.i. that we wanted to testify, mr. speaker, did an interview on a national news show. and when i saw that, i said, well if that agent can testify -- not testify -- but appear on national tv, that agent ought to appear before congress and testify. i will picked up the phone on my desk and i put in a phone call to the f.b.i. director and was told the director was unavailable. so i called back and i said where is the director.
the director is on travel and out west. and i said well, i need this agent to testify. and i checked with the ranking mber, mr. dingell, and if he is not willing to testify illingly i will compel testimony from the f.b.i. and got an acknowledge tated phone call, couldn't do that. wasn't proper. and the president at the time george w.d friend was bush and he said check with the president of the united states and let us know if you are going to send your agent. later that afternoon, i got a phone call from the f.b.i. director. and he was very cordial. what could he do to help.
would be no problem. and i said i really appreciate that. i'm just curious, why the change of attitude. he said we called over to the white house and the president said that congressman barton was a good man and meant business and it was not totally impossible that the f.b.i. should corporate. and the agent came the next day and had good testimony and that hearing led to a renewal of purpose in terms of the task force against child pornography and the f.b.i. went on and did some really good work and we passed legislation that has tight end the law on child pornography on the internet. mr. speaker, what's the point of all that? the point of all those stories
is that any member of congress is given the privilege to have the voting card, has a great opportunity. 435 phones on the desk of offices in the rayburn and longworth and cannon office building and every member has the potential to pick up that phone and call to help somebody in their district, in the country or the world. the power of the people, united states of america through the constitution delegated to the congress, delegated to the house and senate, delegated to individual house districts, given to members who win elections, every member that walks on this floor, mr. speaker, comes because they have won an election, not because
they have been appointed by the president, the speaker or the governor, but because they have won a free and fair election in the congressional district in which they wish to represent. you are the man or the woman to come to washington. we are allowed to come up here and take the orget and be sworn in and we represent for a two-year term, our constituents. and we have the opportunity to help people. and in the 34 years that i served here, i have done some great things legislatively. but the thing, mr. speaker, that i will miss the most, that i will really miss is that every now and then that i see something ininjure \cxds iousyous to a person in my congressional district that i
represent, i will not have the ability any longer to pick up that phone and call on behalf of that person. i will miss that. it is not an entitlement. it is a privilege, one by the freely and fairly elected. and i have stood for office 17 times. i have won 17 primaries. one primary runoff, 17 general elections. had the privilege to serve the people of the 6th district for 34 years. as i said, i think earlier, in the history of the house, we are not sure where i stand in lifetime seniority but it's in the top 100.
i'm tied for eighth in terms of senior service from the great state of texas. i had the privilege to meet great people. john dingell, the dean of the house who served longer is a congress for what a should be. newt gingrich and rose to be speaker of the house was probably the most brilliant person i met and served in the house. inspirational, navy, visionary, it has been a privilege to get to know him and call him a friend. phil gramm got elected to the senate and represented the great state of texas before his retirement. another absolutely brilliant man
who has been a role model and mentor for me. in the current house, our current speaker, paul ryan, i think he has done great work to move this country in the right direction. the incoming probable speaker, nancy pelosi, we have different views, but philosophically, but she and i stins she and i were junior members, we passed the chinese student asylum act that let all the chinese students who were here in the country, they were allowed to stay in this country until it was safe and for them to go back to china and most of them did return home, but some of them did choose to stay here. that's a bill that i worked on and i'm proud that she and i were able to get it passed.
. the chair of the committee, greg walden, the immediate past chairman, fred upton, the senior members likeshimkus of illinois, who has worked so hard on yucca ountain, the other side of the aisle, bobby rush, from chicago, former black panther and i, have a bill that's passed the house and standing in the senate to reform the strategic petroleum reserve. this afternoon, mr. speaker, on kathy oor, congresswoman castor of florida and i passed a bill, called the improve act but ithin it are the ace kids act, passed the bill 400-11 and if the senate can pass it this week or next week, and i think they will, it will trands form how we provide health care for the poor
thoves poor children who are already medicaid eligible. it's been a privilege to serve the great house of representatives for the great people of texas. the sixth district. for the last 34 years. and i consider it the highest honor of my life to to have had he title of united states >> mr. speaker, this evening i say good-bye to the house of representatives after 20 years of service. thank you to the people of queens, to the bronx, it's been an honor, the honor of my life, to be the voice of many people from new york city. mr. crowley: as the son and grandson of immigrants from ireland, as the son of a new york city cop, as a husband and father, i can only hope i have made my family proud my family is everything to me. they taught me to pursue fairness, justice, to use my power, to use my se,