Republican avoids apocalyptic 666

Greg Nash

Rep. Joe Barton (Texas) isn't about to have his prized legislation get tagged with a 666 — the number of the beast.

Barton on Wednesday successfully changed the bill number for his legislation repealing a decades-old ban on crude oil exports from 666, a figure frequently tied to the antichrist and Satanism, to the more anodyne 702.

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“It quickly became clear that the original bill number carried many different negative connotations,” Barton spokesman Sean Brown said in an email. “We decided it was best to change it so people will focus on the content of the legislation, not the bill number.”

Every bill in Congress is assigned a bill number, and several pieces of legislation have taken the number 666 in the past.

H. Res. 666 in the 112th Congress expressed the House’s sense that Medicare should not be changed for any citizens over the age of 55. In the 113th Congress, H.R. 666 reaffirmed the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to take land into trust for Indian tribes.

Barton introduced his bill on Tuesday with 11 other lawmakers. It would remove all restrictions on the export of crude oil.

“Pressure to remove the ban on crude oil exports is growing from both ends of the political spectrum,” Barton said. 

“I have already had positive conversations with my colleagues in the Senate about introducing similar legislation. I predict that no matter which party controls Capitol Hill or the White House, the ban will eventually be lifted, but the sooner it happens the sooner we will see the benefits.”

It’s unclear whether Barton’s bill will become law. But it won’t be burdened with unlucky no. 666.