This week marks the beginning of the end of the long national nightmare known as the 111th Congress. Republicans were given a second chance—by default—through a national effort to stop the destructive Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda.
House Republicans are poised to begin making the same kind of business-as-usual mistakes that relegated the party to minority status in 2006. The most glaring example is the looming threat of having Rep. Fred Upton (RINO-Mich.) become chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, despite his liberal voting record, simply because he’s next in line.
If there is one thing voters made absolutely clear this election cycle, it is that the era of entitlement politics is over in the Republican Party.
Upton’s liberal voting record is a textbook example of why Republicans were kicked to the curb. From taxes to energy to federal government land grabs, Upton is no conservative.
Upton’s proudest energy achievement is co-authoring the ban on incandescent light bulbs with über-liberal Rep. Jane Harman (D.–Calif.).
A big believer in global-warming-consensus “science,” Upton told a Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing in 2009—just last year—that the global warming debate is over: “I have said at nearly every climate change hearing that for me I don’t dispute the science. Right or wrong, the debate over the modeling and science appears to be over.” (Transcript page 7.)
“Right or wrong”? If the science is wrong, we should just go with it anyway?
A closer look at Upton’s energy voting record reveals a job-killing liberal aligned even more closely with Nancy Pelosi on energy and environmental issues. A small sampling:
• Voted for the Democrats’ Energy Bill Imposing New Federal Mandates. In 2007, Upton voted for the Democrats’ energy bill imposing CAFE gas-mileage standards and taxpayer funding for biofuels production, among other provisions.
• Voted to Empower the EPA. In 1995, Upton voted to empower the EPA to take actions under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and food safety laws. The underlying appropriations bill had been constructed to block funding for certain independent EPA actions. Upton voted for the Democrat-sponsored amendment to reverse this. The amendment was adopted, but later failed on a revote.
• Voted for Federal Regulation of Light Bulbs and for Increased Regulation of the Energy Industry. In 2007, Upton joined Democrats to provide the votes needed for passage of a bill regulating lights and appliances and imposing more regulations on energy companies.
• Voted for the $409 Billion Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, Preventing Energy Development and Leading to Increased Federal Land Acquisition. In 2009, Upton voted here and here to block millions of acres from new oil and gas leasing, logging, mining, and other business activity. This legislation eliminated 1.2 million acres from mineral leasing and energy exploration in Wyoming alone—withdrawing 331 million barrels of recoverable oil and 8.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from domestic energy supply.
• Voted to Enable More Federal Land Acquisition, Under the Guise of Preventing Oil Spills. In 2010, Upton voted with Democrats to direct a National Resources Damages Czar to acquire non-impacted land in response to environmental disasters such as an oil spill. The underlying bill already mandated $30 billion for federal land acquisition.
• Voted Against an Overhaul of the Endangered Species Act. In 2005, Upton opposed the bill that would have overhauled the Endangered Species Act to replace the critical habitat designation used to infringe on property rights. It would require the government to reimburse landowners when development is blocked for endangered species and would have authorized grants for private landowners to protect endangered species.
• Voted Against Local Control Over Conservation Projects. In 2000, Upton voted against an amendment that would have allowed local governments to veto proposed federal land acquisition under the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Upton’s vote helped to defeat the amendment.
• Voted to Allow Bureaucrats Instead of Congress to Designate Monuments. In 2000, Upton helped to defeat an amendment that would have prohibited the use of the Antiquities Act to designate national monuments without congressional approval.
• Voted to Establish a “Green Public Schools” Advisory Board in the Department of Education. In 2009, Upton voted to require the Secretary of Education to create a new green schools bureaucracy.
As previously reported in HUMAN EVENTS, Upton has a long record of pro-abortion votes including a vote against parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion and a 2007 vote in favor of cloning human embryos for embryonic stem cell research.
Upton’s pro-abortion votes on many of the critical life issues falling within the jurisdiction of the Energy and Commerce Committee have pro-life groups in revolt.
There is much more not to like about Upton’s liberal voting record on a broad range of issues. A summary of some of the more egregious examples is available here at the link.