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Upton Expected to Chair House Commerce in Next Congress

WASHINGTON: Michigan Republican Fred Upton is expected to be the next chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. The House Republican Steering Committee recommended Upton and the vote by the full Republican conference is expected today (Wednesday).

The Commerce committees of both the House and Senate cover much of the issues affecting broadcasting. Upton was a key member during Joe Barton’s (R-Texas) chairmanship, when the DTV transition deadline was determined, and the set-top converter subsidy program was hammered out. Upton’s tenure will likely include legislation on retransmission reform and providing the FCC authority to hold spectrum incentive auctions.

Barton, Current ranking member and former committee chair, campaigned hard for the position, at one point saying he didn’t believe he needed a waiver of GOP term limits on leadership positions to retake the chairmanship.

“I want to offer my congratulations to Fred, who is taking over the best committee in Congress,” Barton said. “He has an enormous job ahead, and I’m going to do everything I know how to make his chairmanship the kind of success that the American people want and expect.”

Republican Cliff Stearns of Florida had also been under consideration for the post. He thanked the GOP leadership and members of the Republican Steering Committee for considering him.

“I believe that my background in creating jobs by building my own business, along with my conservative record and experience in chairing a subcommittee, would have made me an effective leader,” he stated. “We have an ambitious agenda to complete: promoting job growth and increasing economic opportunities. I look forward to working with Chairman Upton in the new Congress in making the Energy & Commerce Committee a dynamic force for improving our economy and expanding employment.” -- with Radio World