Upton: Freshmen oppose Barton waiver for Energy gavel

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who hopes to chair the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, does not believe incoming freshman Republicans are keen on granting Upton’s main rival a term-limit waiver that he’s seeking.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the panel’s senior Republican, is a seeking a waiver from GOP caucus rules that prevent members from serving more than three terms (or up to six years) atop a committee.

“Within the caucus, we have to decide whether or not six years is six years” Upton said in an interview broadcast Sunday on Platts Energy Week. “It seems as though the freshmen members coming in, almost to a person, are saying ‘you know what, we are not changing the rules literally the first day we are here.’ ”

Reps. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) are also seeking the Energy and Commerce gavel if Barton is denied a waiver.

Barton served one term as chairman before Democrats reclaimed the House in the 2006 elections, and has been the ranking Republican on the panel since then.

He contends that the House GOP rules are ambiguous and should not bar him from another stint as chairman when Republicans take over next year.