Rep. Upton to Chair House Commerce Committee

December 7, 2010. The Republican Steering Committee selected Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) to be Chairman of the House Commerce Committee (HCC) in the 112th Congress, which meets in January of 2011.

The Chairmen of the HCC's Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet (SCTI) and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection (SCCP) for the 112th Congress have not yet been named.

Rep. Fred UptonRep. Upton (at right) stated in a release that "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."

He also released a memorandum to House Republicans in which he stated that "We have a clear mandate to cut the size of government, reduce spending, and reverse costly job-killing regulations."

He also said that HCC "policy will not be dictated out of the Chairman's office as we have seen in the past. ... Every member of the Committee will play an active role".

He said that his vision for the HCC "is a conservative agenda that focuses on cutting spending, removing the regulatory burden, restoring freedom, keeping government accountable through rigorous oversight, and jobs."

He said little about communications or technology related issues in his memorandum. However, he wrote that "I have fought to curb indecency in public broadcasting with the passage of the Brownback/Upton Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005, protect our kids from online predators, ..."

Also on December 1, 2010, he responded to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's proposal to adopt rules at a December 21 meeting that would regulate broadband internet access service (BIAS) providers.

Rep. Upton stated in a release that "The relentless push towards net neutrality reveals this administration and the FCC remain tone deaf to the will of the American people. First it was cap-and-trade, then health care, and now they have launched an all out assault to regulate the Internet."

He continued that "We have all grown sick and tired of the Chicago-style politics to ram through job-killing measures at any cost, regardless of the consequences or damage to our economy. Rather than put a gun to the heads of our largest economic engines, now is the time for the FCC to cease and desist. The FCC does not have authority to regulate the Internet, and pursuing net neutrality through Title I or reclassification is wholly unacceptable. Our new majority will use rigorous oversight, hearings and legislation to fight the FCC's overt power grab." (Both President Obama and Chairman Genachowski are from Chicago, Illinois.)

"After 15 months of near double-digit unemployment, it is astonishing that the administration continues to believe government regulation is the answer to everything. More government red tape will only further thwart our economic recovery and derail future job growth." Rep. Upton concluded that "The Internet has flourished without needless government intervention -- we should step aside and allow the staggering innovations of tomorrow to proceed."

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the current ranking Republican, had also sought the position of Chairman in the 112th Congress. He stated in a release that "Now I want to offer my congratulations to Fred, who is taking over the best committee in Congress. 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."

The HCC has jurisdiction in the House over many technology related issues, and oversees several agencies that are involved in technology related matters. The HCC has jurisdiction over telecommunications, broadcasting, spectrum, and universal service. It also oversees the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It also has jurisdiction over consumer protection issues, such as only privacy, and oversees the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).