Amid criticism from the right, Upton defends his conservative cred
On the same day that the Washington Examiner’s editorial board blasted Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) for not being conservative enough to become the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Upton’s office is circulating an article in which the lawmaker promises to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s clear that Upton, who has the 12th best lifetime League of Conservation Voters score among Republicans, is being forced to underscore his conservative credentials to land the top spot on the committee.
In an editorial yesterday, the Examiner criticized Upton for voting for a land management bill that restricted access to federal lands for oil and gas leasing and for voting “no” on a bill to cut the EPA’s funding, among other things. “Upton’s claims of being a Reaganite notwithstanding, there is nothing in his voting record to suggest he would be an aggressive opponent of Obama’s plan to impose cap-and-trade through regulation,” the editorial said. On top of that, the editorial criticizes Upton for being “Democrats’ favorite Republican” to succeed the current chairman, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).
The Examiner also ran a story yesterday on Republican efforts to block the EPA and repeal parts of the health care law. In it, Upton said, “The bottom line, particularly if I am chairman, is we’re not going to allow them to regulate what they cannot legislate.” It’s that comment that Upton’s office highlighted in an email to reporters.
Upton is widely considered to be the frontrunner for the chairmanship of the committee. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) is also interested in the position, but he must be granted permission to waive the GOP rule limiting congressmen to three terms as the top Republican on a committee. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) is also interested in the chairmanship.
Shimkus and Upton, in interviews this week by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, signaled they would target White House climate and energy policy coordinator Carol Browner if they become chairman.
Upton said he would subpoena Browner to testify before the committee, and Shimkus said he would work to “defund” Browner and all of the other so-called policy czars, who were appointed and not subject to Senate approval.