Despite Conservatives’ Objections, Rep. Upton Will Chair Next Energy and Commerce Committee

By Susan Jones | December 8, 2010 | 10:24 AM EST

( - He wasn’t the choice of some conservatives, but he’s got the job: The House Republican Steering Committee on Tuesday chose Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to be the next Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

Upton, who has served on the Energy and Commerce Committee since 1991, has been criticized by some fellow Republicans for authoring a measure that will do away with the incandescent light bulb.

On Tuesday, he said he looks forward to working with the House Republican leadership “as we repeal Obamacare, fight rampant job-killing regulations, cut spending, and help put folks back to work.”

Republicans’ “priority number one,” he said, is to repeal Obamacare. He said the fight to do that starts now – and he wants Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) to chair the health subcommittee.

“We need to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better,” Pitts said in a message posted on his Web site on Tuesday. Upton also advocates repealing and replacing. But many conservatives say Obamacare should simply be repealed, not replaced.

"If we have learned anything these last two years of soaring unemployment and out-of-control spending, it is that government is not the answer to all our ills -- it is, in fact, the root cause of many of them,” Upton said on Tuesday after learning that he will chair the House energy committee.

"The Obama administration is on notice -- they will not be allowed to regulate what they have been unable to legislate.

The full Republican caucus is expected to ratify Upton’s appointment. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), who also wanted the job, told Politico he will not challenge Upton’s appointment.

As reported on Tuesday, Upton’s support for an amendment leading to the phase-out of the incandescent light bulb is one of the reasons he faced conservative opposition in his bid to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Press reports on Tuesday quoted Upton as saying he would be willing to undo that law as chairman of the next House Energy and Commerce Committee.