Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), the current ranking member of the House Energy & Environment subcommittee, has been selected
over three other candidates as the next chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Members of the House Republican
Steering Committee endorsed Upton on Tuesday over Rep. Joe Barton of Texas (a one-time House Energy & Commerce Committee
chairman and current ranking member of that body), Florida congressman Cliff Stearns, and John Shimkus (R-IL). The selection was
affirmed by members of the House Republican Conference on Wednesday. Upton, a 12-year veteran of Capitol Hill, is viewed as a
moderate on a host of issues but strongly opposes FCC efforts to enact net neutrality rules. Asserting that “the FCC does not have the
authority to regulate the Internet,” Upton commented last week that “pursuing net neutrality through Title I or reclassification is wholly
unacceptable.” As such, Upton vowed that the new Republican majority in the House “will use rigorous oversight, hearings and
legislation” to combat what he termed as “the FCC’s overt power grab.” Upton’s selection was welcomed by industry leaders and by
FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, who praised Upton’s “deep understanding of communications policy and strong commitment to
free market principles.” As U.S. Telecom Association president Walter McCormick lauded Upton as “a fair and balanced legislator,”
Verizon Communications senior vice president Peter Davidson predicted that Upton “will ensure that federal communications policies
are pro-innovation, pro-investment, and pro-consumer.”