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Upton Declares Bid for Energy and Commerce Gavel

Rep. Fred Upton on Tuesday officially launched his bid for the Energy and Commerce chairmanship, promising more oversight and better communication in a letter to the House Republican Conference.

The Michigan Republican said as chairman he would make sure to keep the lines of communication with other committees open to avoid jurisdictional squabbles and to involve the entire Conference in the panel’s activities.

“My vision for the Energy and Commerce Committee is a conservative agenda that focuses on cutting spending, removing the regulatory burdens, restoring freedom, keeping government accountable through rigorous oversight, and jobs,” he wrote.

Upton used the letter to stress his conservative credentials, an acknowledgment that his detractors have been highlighting his history and record as a moderate.

While Upton is rumored to be the favorite for the post, several other Members have also indicated they are interested, including Reps. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and current ranking member Joe Barton (R-Texas).

Barton has been the most vocal in seeking the position, but he would need a waiver from the Steering Committee to continue his tenure since he has served three consecutive terms as the top Republican on the panel.

Shimkus has indicated he will not challenge Barton outright and would only seek the position if Barton does not get the waiver.

Barton said he had talked to members of leadership on the phone about his bid and that the conversations had been “cordial and positive.”

Asked whom he would support if he is denied a fourth term, Barton said, “I’m not that hypothetical.”

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