Originally published: December 8, 2010
Last updated: December 9, 2010 - 12:10pm
The House Republican Steering Committee selected Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) to be the next leader of the House Commerce Committee. Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) will be the next chairman of the Appropriations Committee. The two were among the slate of new committee chairs elected by the 34-member steering committee, according to House GOP aides. The full House Republican Conference is scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to ratify the panel's recommendations, a step that is largely a formality.
These chairmanship battles were particularly contentious because of the enormous power wielded by the two committees in areas of keen interest to conservatives who energized the Republican surge in the midterm elections—federal spending, health-care policy, environmental regulation and energy policy. Rep Upton won out over Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX), John Shimkus (R-IL) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL). Rep Upton had to beat back some criticism that he was too moderate for the post as opponents criticized his authorship of a law to require more energy-efficient light bulbs. But he promised to give close scrutiny to the new health care legislation and step up oversight of the Obama administration.
Rep Barton is currently the Ranking Member of the Commerce Committee but needed a waiver to become chairman since GOP party rules prohibit any lawmaker from holding the top slot on a panel for more than six years. Many of the more than 80 newly elected Republicans made it clear they didn't want to circumvent that rule. "Consistently, the freshman class thinks that the rule, which doesn't allow waivers, is a good one," said Rep.-elect Tim Scott (R-SC).
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