Congressman Joe Barton on the Republican’s plan for Congress
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW
JEREMY HOBSON: Now to the elections. Results are still coming in, but we do know that Republicans will control the House and Democrats will continue to control the Senate.
We’re joined now by Congressman Joe Barton of Texas. He’s a republican who’s in line to be the next chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Congressman Barton, Good morning.
JOE BARTON: Good morning.
HOBSON: First of all, on the issue of the Bush tax cuts, they’re said to expire at the end of the year, Democrats have been talking about raising taxes on the highest income earners, Republicans want to keep the tax cuts for everyone. Now that your party is the driver’s seat in the House, do you think there’s likely to be any compromise on this issue?
BARTON: I think we’re going to maintain the tax cuts. The question is whether Pelosi, Reid and President Obama do it now, in other words in the lame duck in the next couple of weeks, or whether we have to do it in January when we’re sworn in to be the new majority in the House. But I think it will be done. What’s been talked about is make the tax cuts for people under $250,000 permanent, and for those over $250,000, a two-year extension. I think we ought to make them all permanent, and let’s just do it and look at cutting spending next year and bringing the budget back under control.
HOBSON: You are set to take the reigns as the Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee. What is your top priority on that committee?
BARTON: The first priority and I spoke with Leader Boehner, soon-to-be Speaker Boehner and his Chief of Staff last night about this, it would be to move a repeal Obama-care bill through the committee and onto the floor. At the start of each Congress the Speaker will have the first 10 to 15 bills — you know bill number one, bill number two, bill number three — I will advocate that bill number one be to repeal Obama-care.
HOBSON: And do you think that’s realistic to repeal the health care law if you’re going to have to get Democrats in the Senate and the President to go along with that.
BARTON: The key on whether you can get it totally repealed is how many Democrats we can get to vote with us. And I think an open transparent process, that is fair, that the American people are a part of in terms of participation, hearings and watching them on the Internet and on television, then it’s a doable deal. Which you can’t do with Republican votes obviously.
HOBSON: What about climate change legislation. That would fall within your committee. Are we likely to see anything on that front do you think in the next two years.
BARTON: Well you’re not going to see a cap and trade bill. That bill is not even an endangered species. It’s extinct. I mean it’s gone. That debate was settled last night.
HOBSON: Alright, Congressman Joe Barton of Texas, Republican and soon-to-be Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Thanks so much for joining us.
BARTON: It’s my pleasure.
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