An official member of the Republican Congressional “Tea Party Caucus” co-sponsored and failed to vote against a “food tyranny” bill that proponents of limited government nationwide railed against. Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, member of the group which purports to advocate “fiscal responsibility, adherence to the Constitution, and limited government,” has some ‘splainin’ to do.
H.R.2751 — FDA Food Safety Modernization Act , (full text here) was passed by Congress on December 21 with a 215-144 vote, and sent to the President for his signature. The bill was sponsored by Betty Sue Sutton, a Democrat from Ohio who first entered Congress in January 2007. Sutton is a 47 year old Methodist lawyer who attended Kent State. Previously a city council member and Ohio State representative, Sutton’s recent claim to fame was establishing the failed ‘cash for clunkers’ program.
The new bill, known as S.B. 510 in the Senate and referred to as the “Food Tyranny bill” by many, had 59 cosponsors. Nine of the 59 cosponsors were Republicans. Out of the nine Republican cosponsors, three of them conveniently abstained from voting on the final bill: Rep. Joe Barton [R, TX-6], Rep. David Camp [R, MI-4] and Rep Parker Griffith [AL-5]. The other six Republican cosponsors voted no on the final bill: Rep. Steven LaTourette [R, OH-14], Rep. Thaddeus McCotter [R, MI-11], Rep. Candice Miller [R, MI-10], Rep. Michael Rogers [R, MI-8], Rep. Michael Turner [R, OH-3], Rep. Frederick Upton [R, MI-6].
Out of the 215 U.S. Congressmembers who voted yes on the bill, ten were Republicans: Biggert, Castle, Dent, Djou, Ehlers, Fortenberry, Lee (NY), Roskam, Terry, and Wolf. The official Congressional vote for the Food Safety Act was roll call vote 661, and can be found here.
Joe Barton, one of three Republican cosponsors who failed to vote on the bill, is an official member of the ‘Tea Party Caucus’, established by Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachman in July 2010. Sixty-one year old Joseph Linus “Joe” Barton has been in office since January 1985 and serves Texas District 6. Like Sutton, Barton is also a Methodist. He grew up in Waco and worked as an engineer and oil company consultant before being elected to Congress. Wikipedia credits Barton with “initiating the reauthorization of the National Institutes of Health” and notes that he was “the lead representative in forcing the switch from analog to digital TV and auctioning off the public airwaves to private companies”. Barton has a demonstratively odd record for someone who claims to support limited government.
Clearly enamoured by the Bush family, Barton cosponsored a bill to “redesignate the U.S. Courthouse located in Midland, Texas as the “George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush United States Courthouse”. He cosponsored the ‘Carbon Capture and Storage Early Deployment Act’, which would create a ‘Carbon Storage Research Corporation’ and provide ‘grants, contracts, and financial assistance’. He voted for the Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act, which would “establish national multimedia campaigns” encouraging young women to be aware of their personal risk factors”, etc etc. A bona fide neocon warmonger, Barton pledged to to make a ‘2 percent across-the-board rescissions in spending’, as long as it wasn’t a cut in the defense or homeland-security budget. Barton also cosponsored bills to sanction Iran, to establish a coproration using our tax dollars to promote travel and tourism, and to “support for the State of Israel’s inalienable right to defend itself in the face of an imminent nuclear or military threat from Iran, terrorist organizations, and the countries that harbor them.”
Here is a compilation of Barton’s voting record on votesmart.org. Barton was forced by his fellow Republicans to recant statements he made earlier this year during the Gulf Oil spill when he called the BP claim fund a “$20 billion shakedown”.
The progress of the grossly misnamed ‘Food Safety’ bill through the House and Senate has been detailed by Naturalnews.com with such articles as Top Ten lies about Senate Bill 510, Despite massive protests, US Senate passes S 510 Food Safety Bill, and Congress sticks it to U.S. farmers with passage of food safety bill that will actually cause fresh produce to be more dangerous.
It’s shame that the notion of a limit government ‘tea party’ movement can be co-opted by a gaggle of big government statists and neocon phony conservative control freaks such as Texas Rep. Joe Barton. Bachman and all those associated with the ‘Tea Party Caucus’ should be leery of associating their group with him.
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Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured on LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened, Infowars, PrisonPlanet, Rense, National Motorists Association, and many others. You can view a full archive of his Examiner articles here.