Philip S. Barnett worked for 25 years on Capitol Hill, where he served as the staff director of two major House committees, the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. During his career, he helped Rep. Henry A. Waxman enact multiple pieces of landmark legislation, including the Clean Air Act of 1990, the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, the Affordable Care Act of 2010, and reforms of federal telecommunications, procurement, and postal laws. Phil also has extensive experience in congressional oversight, having led major investigations into the tobacco industry, food and drug safety, steroid use in baseball, contract abuses in Iraq, the Wall Street collapse, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Phil graduated from Princeton University in 1979, where he won Princeton’s highest undergraduate distinction, the Pyne Honor Prize, and from Harvard Law School in 1983. From 1983 to 1984, he served as law clerk to Judge William C. Canby, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. From 1984 to 1988, he was a lawyer in the Alaska office of the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund.
Phil began his Washington career in 1988. From 1989 to 1994, Phil was counsel to the Health and the Environment Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. In 1995, he became counsel in the office of Rep. Henry A. Waxman. In 1996, he served as the Director of Policy Research for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where he was awarded the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service (for outstanding performance in the development of regulations to protect children from smoking) and two Commissioner’s Special Citations (for outstanding contribution to policy development and outstanding contributions to public health). Phil returned to Capitol Hill in 1997, where he served on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform as Minority Chief Counsel (1997 to 2003), Minority Staff Director (2004 to 2006), and Staff Director (2007 to 2008). In 2009, he moved to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he served as Staff Director (2009 to 2010) and Minority Staff Director (2010 to 2014).
Phil is a former instructor and board member of the National Outdoor Leadership School. He was a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School in 2011 and 2012.