WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Joe Barton (R-Ennis) joined dozens of other Republican lawmakers Thursday and Friday in a historic protest on the floor of the House of Represen-tatives.
For the past six days they have been holding what Rep. Barton dubbed a “national town hall meeting.”
In a press release issued Friday, the members of Congress are angry that the Democratic majority voted to end the legislative session last week without voting on an all-inclusive American energy plan that will lower prices — including those charged for gas and electricity.
The GOP lawmakers are demanding that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) reconvene the House to discuss this vitally important issue.
On Aug. 1, the lights in the House chamber went out, the microphones were silenced and the TV cameras were shut down. As Democrats left the Nation’s Capitol, Republicans — knowing that millions of Americans are struggling to cope with high energy prices — began a historic revolt, Barton noted in the release.
Barton said the GOP lawmakers refused to leave the House floor, demanding that the session continue and Congress vote on an all inclusive energy policy.
By the time the rally ended more than five hours later, the House chamber was filled with more than 500 cheering citizens, he said.
Even without the microphones and TV cameras, the energy revolt continued this week. Each day dozens of Republican members of Congress have continued to speak on the House floor to throngs of people, many of whom have come to the Capitol to watch this historic event unfold, Barton said, adding Republicans say their demand is simple, they just want a vote on an “all of the above” energy policy.
Barton said he heard the same demand from people who showed up at the town hall meetings he held this week around the Sixth District of Texas. At each meeting, the No. 1 issue was the high cost of energy.
He said, to make sure their thoughts were heard in Washington, he rushed back to join the historic protest.
Barton spoke on the House floor Thursday and Friday morning, telling the hundreds gathered there it is time to tap into America’s vast supply of natural resources and do it in an environmentally sensitive way. His theme: American-made energy for American families and American businesses.
“Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats are saying I want high energy prices and I want them to go higher. I just don’t think that is right, folks, and that’s why people like me are here. We want to bring attention to this issue. We want you to go home and tell your friends what you witnessed. Then call your representative in Congress and demand a vote on energy because right now that vote is being denied. You have a voice and I urge you to use it because right now the liberal Democrats who control this House won’t listen to us.”
Barton then went on to read a quote from Daniel Webster, which is carved in the wall and overlooking the floor of the House. Webster is widely considered one of the great public leaders in the 19th century.
“‘Let us develop the resources of our land, call forth its powers, build up its institutions, promote all its great interests to see whether we also, in our day and generation, may not perform something worthy to be remembered.’ That is what we ought to do,’” Barton read.
As Barton finished the speech, he was given a standing ovation.
So far 70 Republicans have returned to Washington to take place in this call to action for energy and they vow to continue this protest until a special session of Congress is convened or until the body returns for regular business in mid-September.
Barton represents the Sixth District of Texas, which includes Ellis County.
He was first elected to office in 1984.