GOP House Commerce leadership battle wearing on members


Ever since it became apparent that the Republican Party was going to take over control of the House of Representatives, and with it the chair of all of its committees, Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-TX) has been fighting to stay on despite expiration of his term, and three other committee members are trying to take over. Now a member is calling on a rapid resolution to bring the infighting to an end.

Michael Burgess (R-TX) is a member of the committee, and says as a Texas, he backs fellow Texan Barton. But he’d rather see a decision soon than get his own candidate in much later after further bruising among the four candidates.

The others are Fred Upton (R-MI), Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and John Shimkus (R-IL). Should Barton fail to get the rules bent enough to remain atop the committee, Upton has widely been seen as the front-runner. But he has been the target of a campaign suggesting he is too moderate to lead Republicans on such an important committee.

Barton’s interest in the committee is its oversight of energy matters, a key issue for his state. Others see its immediate importance tied to its oversight of elements of the health care, over which Republicans want oversight and which they may work to overturn.