Barton Likely Wouldn’t Be Chairman Even Without BP Apology

June 18, 2010 7:39 am

After Rep. Joe Barton yesterday did the unthinkable and apologized to BP, several — including White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs — jumped on the fact that, should Republicans take back the House in the midterms, Barton would be the natural choice to assume the chairmanship of the House energy committee.

“Who would the GOP put in charge of overseeing the energy industry & Big Oil if they won control of Congress? Yup, u guessed it – JOE BARTON,” Gibbs tweeted yesterday.

But Barton, apparently, had slim chances at the chair, even as ranking member. Why? Term limits, according to Minority Leader John Boehner.This is Barton’s third term as ranking member or chair of the committee — and the House GOP has a three-term limit. He could request a waiver, but those are only granted under “extraordinary circumstances,” according to Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

The House Republicans earlier this year decided to stick with the term limits, which Boehner supports, over the objections of some members.

Barton himself, in fact, was a vocal opponent of the term limits, calling them “counterproductive.”

“Don’t ask me to do a good job in the minority and make a rule that says you can’t continue to do a good job as chairman,” Barton told Politico in February.

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