Hastings urges GOP to back committee shift on energy

In the letter to the House Republican Conference, Hastings claims the plan would leave the commerce panel better poised to fight Democrats' healthcare law.

“This proposal would allow one Committee to focus on health care and Obamacare … and one Committee to focus on energy, our all-of-the-above approach, and the Administration’s policies that hurt energy jobs and American-made energy production,” he wrote.

“This will enable both Committees to be more effective and achieve real oversight and legislative accomplishments. It also aligns jurisdiction with the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee — a simplification that advances our ability to ultimately achieve legislative successes,” the letter adds.

Hastings argues the Energy and Commerce Committee has too much on its plate, calling it a “Goliath” given its oversight of healthcare, telecommunications, consumer protection and the Food and Drug Administration.

“Leveling the power of Committees creates more opportunities for more Members to be engaged in the important issues affecting Americans’ lives. A more equitable division of power would allow more Members to serve on Committees overseeing the top priorities of our Conference and the nation,” Hastings writes.

He also argues that consolidating the energy oversight under one committee — his — would enable more cohesive policy. The letter points out that the Natural Resources Committee oversees energy and mining on federal lands (and offshore), while Energy and Commerce oversees the Energy Department, general energy policy and other matters.

“Energy is currently divided in two halves — and this proposal would marry together our nation’s broad energy policy with the vast majority of America’s actual energy resources that are on our federal lands and offshore,” Hastings wrote.