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Rep. Shimkus in the race for House Energy and Commerce gavel

December 3, 2010

Rep. John Shimkus is locked in a competitive race to become the next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Rep. Shimkus, current E&C ranking member Joe Barton of Texas, Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, and Florida member Cliff Stearns are in the race for the Energy and Commerce gavel.

To become chairman, Barton would require a waiver from the House Republicans’ self-imposed term limits on committee leadership.   And that’s a long shot after Barton’s out-of-step comments last summer during the heat of the BP oil spill which infuriated fellow Republicans leaders.   

Just hours after stating that BP was the victim of a $20 billion White House “shakedown” for being encouraged to establish a victims’ fund,  Barton reappeared before the committee and apologized for his comments.  

Upton, described as a moderate, is frequently referred to as the front-runner, but Shimkus’ candidacy is also receiving a lot of attention.    

Evidently, the thought of such a strong opponent of climate change legislation as Shimkus becoming chairman is too much for cap and trade proponents to bear.   It has prompted what amounts to a smear campaign in blogs like Talking Points Memo.

When you see that kind of coverage, it means someone is very concerned.  I take  it as a good sign that Rep. Shimkus is seriously being considered for the chairmanship.

The House Republican steering committee will select the next Energy and Commerce committee chairman next week.

The committee has jurisdiction over several Farm Bureau priority issue areas including energy, renewable fuels, greenhouse gas regulations, interstate commerce, and health care reform to name just a few.      

Good luck to an outstanding friend of agriculture, the gentleman from Illinois, John Shimkus.

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