House Commerce chair derby: Some are down on Fred Upton


Even as current House Energy Commerce Committee Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-TX) looks to remain in a post which he may or not lose on grounds of GOP term limits, speculation has been whirling about replacement contenders. At least two entities are saying that one of the leading candidates, Fred Upton (R-MI) has insufficient conservative credentials to be considered for the post.

Upton was formerly the Chairman of the key Communications Subcommittee. He was the lead sponsor of legislation that eventually upped the FCC’s top-drawer indecency fine to $325,000. He also made a speech several years ago calling for relaxation of local radio ownership caps beyond the eight station ceiling currently in place.

However, Americans for Limited Government have come out in opposition to his candidacy, citing his record on environmental and energy matters.

President Bill Wilson said, “At a time when Americans are rejecting the Obama anti-energy agenda, Representative Fred Upton has spent his career in Congress embracing radical environmentalism. Fred Upton has repeatedly voted against expanding energy production in the U.S. as the nation’s dependence on foreign sources of fuel has only grown.”

In an editorial, the Washington Examiner also opposed Upton, citing his support for stimulus.”Upton was one of nine House GOPers who voted against Rep. Dave Camp’s substitute amendment to the $787 billion Obama-Pelosi economic stimulus bill in March 2009. The Camp amendment would have substituted a GOP stimulus alternative made up primarily of new tax cuts for individuals and business.”

In addition to Barton, committee member John Shimkus (R-IL) and current Communications Subcommittee Ranking Member Cliff Stearns (R-FL) have also been mentioned as contenders for the E&C Chair.