NRCC chairman Pete Sessions, whose job it is to increase GOP ranks in the House, says Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) will likely retain his post as the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Asked last night after a House vote if Barton may face further repercussions for apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward, Sessions told reporters that Barton’s already paid his penance.
“I don’t think that’s the direction we’re headed in,” Sessions said. “…I believe that Joe has adequately addressed the issue.”
Sessions noted numerous times that he was speaking as a member of the GOP leadership team (he is the fourth ranking Republican under Minority Leader John Boehner, Whip Eric Cantor, and Conference Chair Mike Pence ) and not as a rank and file member of the House. Boehner, Cantor and Pence organized last week’s rapid response to the Barton flap, in which anonymous GOP leadership aides left the door open to further recriminations.
This week, Sessions was fairly adamant that the party would take no further action againts Barton. Expect the Democrats to have a lot of fun with this one.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.