Jumping the gun a bit before the election returns are in, Politico profiles Michigan Rep. Fred Upton as he "measures the drapes" to take over the House Energy and Commerce Committee, if Texas Rep. Joe Barton cannot get a waiver from GOP leadership to continue as the top Republican on the committee. It sounds like there will be a competition between the two, with Politico reporting that Upton is sharpening his conservative credentials:
Upton earned the nickname early in his career for repeatedly offering floor amendments imposing across the board cuts on spending bills. Now, the 12-term congressman hopes to be chairman of the panel that will be a major focus of GOP efforts to fight President Barack Obama on everything from health care to energy policy to business regulation.
Already, he's planning an attempt to repeal portions of the Democrats' health care reform law - his way.
"I know there's going to be a vote to repeal the whole thing if we take over, but in all likelihood we're not going to have the votes to override," Upton told POLITICO. "I look at this a little bit like a Jenga game. It's a good game with my kids. We're going to look at the pieces."
While Politico characterizes him as conservative, the Hudson Institute's Diana Furchtgott-Roth has a different picture of Upton today in the Washington Examiner:
The congressman's philosophy is probably best summed up with his 2005 vote against extending the Bush tax cuts on capital gains and dividends, even though these cuts were projected to save taxpayers $80.5 billion over 10 years.
In addition, Upton was one of 11 Republicans who voted with Democrats to try and make future tax cuts harder to pass. He was one of nine Republicans who opposed the Republican amendment to President Obama's "stimulus" bill to stimulate with tax cuts instead of $787 billion in borrowed money.
If you like your incandescent light bulbs, you won't like Upton, because he coauthored the 2007 light bulb ban with Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif....
...Upton voted for oil and gas drilling bans off the coast of Florida and in the Great Lakes, as well as for blocking millions of acres from new oil and gas leasing, logging, mining, and other business activity.
Upton also voted to bail out banks and Wall Street with $700 billion of taxpayer money. He voted for the first attempt, which failed, and for the second attempt, which passed.
If the GOP is fortunate enough to win and hopes to reign in EPA on things like regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from utilities and vehicles, it seems like Upton would be exactly what voters would not expect from new leadership.