Skip to main content

Boehner Names Upton to Debt Panel

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced Wednesday that he intends to appoint House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

That is the committee created in the recently passed debt ceiling bill that has to come up with cuts, or else.

Upton was named chair of their committee back in December, beating out Joe Barton (R-Tex.), then ranking member and former chair, who had waged a heated battle for the seat. But Upton had been tagged by many as the frontrunner given his fundraising prowess for the party. Now he will be in a national fundraising role as he tries to find new money for the treasury and pay down the deficit.

One budget cut Upton joined others in threatening earlier this year was to defund the FCC's administration of network neutrality rules. Upton is former chair of the Communications Subcommittee and was instrumental in upping the potential treasury take from indecency fines by pushing legislation, which eventually passed to increase them tenfold to $325,000 per fine back in the mid 1990.

"The lawmakers I have appointed to serve on this joint committee are proven leaders who have earned the trust and confidence of their colleagues and constituents," said Boehner in a statement. "They understand the gravity of our debt crisis and I appreciate their willingness to serve on this panel."

That will make at least two names familiar in Washington media circles. CNN reports that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chair of the Senate Communications Subcommittee, will be named to the committee from the Democratic side.

"I am humbled by the trust Speaker Boehner and our leadership team has placed in us, and I stand ready to serve on the Joint Select Committee alongside Chairman Camp and Chairman Hensarling on behalf of all House Republicans," said Upton in a statement.

"Being from Michigan where families have endured 31 consecutive months of double-digit unemployment, I know how important it is to get our economy back on track and get Americans back to work. As someone who worked on the federal budget for President Reagan, I saw firsthand that sound economic policy is the bedrock of job creation and fiscal responsibility. And as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I know the exploding cost of health care is at the root of our long-term fiscal challenges; it's why our committee has already produced legislation to save taxpayers $90 billion, and that was just the beginning. Much more needs to be done to bring down health care costs, promote economic growth, and begin to tame runaway government. No one believes this is going to be easy, but working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both Chambers of the Congress, we will work to address our fiscal challenges and get America back to work."