As House Republicans have planned to assume control in January, the biggest debate about chairmanships has been over who will manage the Energy and Commerce Committee, with Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan next in line in seniority. But many conservatives object because of some of his past votes, which included one for a ban on offshore drilling in Florida and the Great Lakes and another in opposition to an extension of the Bush tax cuts on capital gains and dividends. There were others, not the least of which was his cosponsorship of the bill that led to the ban of the incandescent light bulb.
Now, according to the Washington Times, Upton says his mind has been illuminated by those who object to that ban:
"We have heard the grass roots loud and clear, and will have a hearing early next Congress," said Mr. Upton, a Michigan Republican who is facing several others in his party in a bid to earn the gavel of the powerful committee. "The last thing we wanted to do was infringe upon personal liberties - and this has been a good lesson that Congress does not always know best...."
Mr. Upton and other lawmakers - including the other three men seeking the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee - now say they've learned their lesson and want to unshackle consumers and restore their choice in light bulbs....
Steve Tomaszewski, a spokesman for Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois, another hopeful for the chair, said his boss is aware of the problems with the new bulbs and "has experienced them personally." He said Mr. Shimkus thinks the committee should look at whether the bulbs are reliable and whether they are as energy-efficient as advertised.
Glad to hear Upton is open-minded, but why it matters to Shimkus how the bulbs do their job is irrelevant. The free market will decide that.