Politics & Government

Barton voted against Harvey aid. Now he’s heading a relief task force

A remodeling sign sits in a yard outside a home damaged by floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey, in Houston. Victims of Hurricane Harvey, desperate to rebuild their homes and lives, are facing the harsh reality that it may take months for an overwhelmed construction industry to address their needs.
A remodeling sign sits in a yard outside a home damaged by floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey, in Houston. Victims of Hurricane Harvey, desperate to rebuild their homes and lives, are facing the harsh reality that it may take months for an overwhelmed construction industry to address their needs. AP

Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican who last week voted against a federal aid package for Hurricane Harvey relief, will lead a congressional task force dedicated to recovery efforts.

Barton is teaming up with Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar on the panel, which will help coordinate Congress’s response to the one of the biggest natural disasters to ever hit the state.

Barton, whose district includes parts of Arlington and Fort Worth, was one of four Texas House Republicans who did not support Congress’s $15.25 billion in federal relief package last month, because it was tied to an increase in the debt ceiling and a three-month of government funding.

“As much as I want to help Texas, I can’t vote for something that’s a blank check on the debt,” said Barton told the Star-Telegram.

Barton did, however, vote for an earlier aid plan. That legislation would have provided $7.9 billion for Harvey aid, with no link to the debt or budget.

But President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders made a deal to tie the relief package to the debt and budget, requiring the House to vote again on an aid plan. Barton was among 90 other House Republicans voted no. Texas’ two Republican senators voted yes.

No details about other members were released.

“In the wake of this terrible disaster, I am pleased that the Republican and Democratic Members of the Texas congressional delegation have come together to form a bipartisan task force aimed at helping those most in need...Texans will not leave one another behind,” Barton said in a statement.

Contact: Andrea Drusch: @andreadrusch

  Comments