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Upton Wins House Energy & Commerce Gavel

Despite objections from a number of conservative- and tea party-oriented interest groups, soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and the Republican Steering Committee signed off on Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., to lead the influential House Energy & Commerce Committee for the upcoming 112th Congress.

The full GOP House Caucus will now have to ratify Upton's appointment and former Energy & Commerce Chairman Joe Barton, R-Texas, has told Politico he will not challenge the steering committee's decision.

Upton is poised to run a panel with broad authority over the economy, from health care to energy and telecommunications. While campaigning for the job, the 12-term lawmaker appealed to conservatives nervous about his credentials by pledging to pursue repeal of key pieces of the new health care law and also closely scrutinize the Obama administration's climate change and energy policies.

“I look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor, Whip McCarthy and the entire republican conference as we repeal Obamacare, fight rampant job killing regulations, cut spending and help put folks back to work,” Upton said in a statement.

Upton pledged to adopt new committee rules to “cut spending and restore fiscal responsibility.”

“The Obama administration is on notice – they will not be allowed to regulate what they have been unable to legislate,” he said.

Upton has already made his first major choice – picking Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) as chairman of the Health Subcommittee. “Together, we will protect the sanctity of life, ensuring early next Congress that no federal funds are used for abortion,” Upton said in a statement. ... Upton is expecting to begin meetings this week with committee members before making final choices on subcommittee leadership spots.

Other notable committee appointments Tuesday included Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., who will lead the House Financial Services Committee; Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, who will lead the Science Committee; and Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., has been picked to head the powerful Appropriations Committee.

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