Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan was elected late Tuesday to the position of chairman of powerful the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Barton’s toughest challenge for the position came from Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, who was attempting to seek a waiver from House leadership in order to serve in the position.
Upton’s election by the Steering Committee was helped by an official endorsement by incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner.
“I look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor, Whip McCarthy and the entire Republican Conference as we repeal Obamacare, fight rampant job-killing regulations, cut spending, and help put folks back to work,” said Upton in a press release shortly after the vote.
He continued, “If we have learned anything these last two years of soaring unemployment and out-of-control spending, it is that government is not the answer to all our ills — it is, in fact, the root cause of many of them.”
“The Obama administration is on notice — they will not be allowed to regulate what they have been unable to legislate,” Upton added.
Upton’s campaign to be elected to the position went into overdrive the last few days. He reversed his position on banning incandescent light bulbs in favor of the more environmentally-friendly CFL bulbs – a source of contention for many conservatives who worry Upton is too moderate. He also sent a letter to President Obama urging him to open ANWR for oil drilling.
Upton will now face a confirmation vote within the entire Republican caucus. A further challenge by Barton is possible, but not likely.
Now that Upton has the gavel, all eyes will be focused on whether he follows through with promises to take on the Obama administration. Upton pledged to repeal at least some provisions of the health care reform bill, and challenge the president’s energy and environmental policies.
Soon after his election to chairman, Upton appointed Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Pitts as chairman of the health subcommittee, according to a press release.