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Upton lays out his energy committee agenda

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) sent a letter to presumptive House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) today outlining his priorities for the House Energy & Commerce Committee, if he becomes chairman. The letter is heavy on conservative go-to issues — cutting spending, “restoring freedom” and protecting human life — but noticeably light on energy issues.

Though he doesn’t specifically mention cap-and-trade or climate science, he said he would work to overturn President Obama’s “job-killing policies” and ensure there is oversight for “every program.”

In the letter, which makes Upton’s candidacy for the committee chairmanship official, Upton tells his fellow Republicans that he:

WILL work with all the members of our Conference as one team;

WILL pass legislation to repeal ObamaCare;

WILL conduct rigorous oversight of every program, budget, regulation and agency

within our jurisdiction;

WILL aggressively cut spending by adopting new Committee rules to foster spending

cuts and eliminate government programs; and

WILL protect the sanctity of human life by rigorous oversight and passing legislation

to permanently ensure that no federal funds go toward abortion, including: Rep. Joe

Pitts’ Protect Life Act and Rep. Chris Smith’s No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.

But the letter does not lay out an energy agenda, nor does it address climate change. The letter is the latest effort by Upton to talk up his conservative credentials, amid criticism by some Republicans that he’s too moderate. In fact, some conservatives have even criticized Upton for his support for phasing out incandescent light bulbs in favor of more efficient ones.

But there was some good news for Upton today. Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard, voiced his support for Upton in a story this afternoon. “I know Upton quite well. He’s not as conservative as I am,” he wrote. “But he is especially well suited to be chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. On the issues the committee will take up, he is conservative. Republicans shouldn’t let a silly light bulb bill keep him from becoming chairman.”

Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas), John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) are also hoping to get the chairmanship.

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