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Upton to Chair House Commerce in Next Congress

Barton, Stearns, Shimkus also wanted post

Michigan Republican Fred Upton will be the next chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee in the 112th Congress.

The House Republican Steering Committee recommended Upton and the full House Republican conference voted for Upton.

After the vote, Upton stated: “We must work towards a new era of less government and more jobs — the administration’s rampant spending and unfettered, two-year assault on the health, energy, and telecommunications sectors is now over.”

Upton has named Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) as the Chairman of the Health Subcommittee. Upton indicated no further decisions on subcommittees will be made until he sits down with all members of the committee individually next week to discuss their legislative priorities.

NAB President /CEO Gordon Smith said the group looks forward to working with Upton in his new role. “Over the years, Fred Upton has served congress with class and integrity, and has shown a willingness to find meaningful solutions to real problems that confront the American people. We welcome his chairmanship and the opportunity to make the case in his committee for preserving and enhancing free and local broadcasting.”

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell congratulated his fellow Republican, saying Upton “brings his deep understanding of communications policy and strong commitment to free market principles to the chairmanship.”

Current Ranking member and former committee chair Joe Barton of Texas campaigned hard for the position, at one point saying he didn’t believe he needed a waiver of GOP term limits on leadership positions to re-take the chairmanship.

“I want to offer my congratulations to Fred, who is taking over the best committee in Congress,” stated Barton. “He has an enormous job ahead, and I’m going to do everything I know how to make his chairmanship the kind of success that the American people want and expect.”

Republican Cliff Stearns of Florida had also been under consideration for the post. He thanked the GOP leadership and members of the Republican Steering Committee for considering him. “I believe that my background in creating jobs by building my own business, along with my conservative record and experience in chairing a subcommittee, would have made me an effective leader,” he stated. “We have an ambitious agenda to complete – promoting job growth and increasing economic opportunities. I look forward to working with Chairman Upton in the new Congress in making the Energy & Commerce Committee a dynamic force for improving our economy and expanding employment.”

John Shimkus of Illinois, a Republican, was also considered for the chair.

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