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Joe Barton, head of the House Commerce Committee, is recovering from a heart attack he suffered during a Thursday night meeting on Capitol Hill. The 56-year-old Texas Republican was admitted to George Washington University Hospital after complaining of feeling ill, according to several reports.

His office issued the following statement Friday morning:

"Congressman Barton is touched and grateful for the many expressions of concern he has received. The congressman is resting comfortably after Thursday evening's heart attack. He is under the expert care of Dr. Jonathan Samuel Reiner at George Washington University Hospital, who has expressed his confidence in a full and complete recovery. The congressman is currently negotiating his release date with the doctor. If the doctor is more successful than others who negotiate with Joe Barton, we expect him to go home within a few days. He also says that he looks forward not only to getting back to work in a hurry, but to getting on next year's campaign trail, too."

Barton is a key figure in the pending analog deadline legislation as well as the overall spending bill that contains it. As a committee chief, Barton is integral in selecting members to participate on the conference committee that has to hammer out the differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill. The House version contains a Jan. 1, 2009 deadline while the Senate opted for April 7, 2009. Speculation about a February compromise are circulating on the Hill.