The lead Republican in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce is term-limited at the top of the committee and is trying to get a waiver to remain there while others jockey for position. Meanwhile, a key Democrat lost his bid for re-election.
Ranking Member for the time being Joe Barton (R-TX) is the waiver-seeking Republican. The energy portion of the committee’s workload is the major attraction in his case, since it is a key issue in the state he represents.
The names mentioned most often as heirs to the chair have both served atop E&C’s key Subcommittee in Communications, Technology and the Internet. Most accounts give the inside track, should Barton’s request be turned down, to former Communications leader Fred Upton (R-MI). Current leader Cliff Stearns (R-FL) is the other. Also mentioned as a contender has been John Shimkus (R-IL).
The current subcommittee Chair, Rich Boucher (D-VA) will be looking for a new job after being turned down for another term by his district in the western portion of Virginia.
The Hill’s technology blog Hillicon Valley, Anna Eshoo (D-CA) has a line on the Ranking Member slot in the 112th Congress, although there has been speculation that Ed Markey (D-MA) will reclaim the position which he has held for many years. He gave up the position in the 111th to take a position concerned with environmental matters.