A month after their resounding victory in the midterm elections, House Republicans have selected their committee chairs for the next congressional session.
According to media reports, Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has been selected to lead the Energy and Commerce Committee over Joe Barton (R-Texas), who is the current ranking member of the group that handles healthcare legislation. Barton sought a return to his post despite sharp criticism he received from his own party this past summer, when he expressed sympathy for BP during a committee hearing on the Gulf Coast oil spill.
Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) has been pegged as the next Appropriations Committee chairman, and he will replace ranking member Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.). This committee is responsible for setting the levels of spending by the Federal government.
"I look forward to working with leadership and my Republican colleagues in fighting for serious reforms of the committee, bringing fiscal sanity back to our budgeting process, performing vigorous oversight of the failed job-creation policies of the Obama administration and moving our nation forward," Rogers said, quoted by FOX News.
Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who is backed by the Tea Party, was selected to serve on the Appropriations Committee. Flake is considered one of the most fiscally conservative Republicans in the House, according to Politico.com. He made a bid to lead the committee in 2008, but was turned down because GOP leaders were still supporting earmarks.
The House committee chairs were recommended by the Steering Committee, which is led by the incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio).