Tea Partyers Lose Some Battles for House Committees

Thursday, 09 Dec 2010 02:39 PM

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Social conservatives and tea partyers lost two battles this week to place favored lawmakers in charge of House panels for spending and energy policy. But in a victory, a fervent abortion opponent Republican will chair an influential subcommittee for health issues such as family planning and the national healthcare overhaul, the Wall Street Journal reports.

As a minority member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s health subcommittee, Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania wrote the health-reform bill’s ban on federal subsidies for the purchase of insurance that covers elective abortions. In his new role, Pitts will be positioned to lead GOP efforts to overturn the new healthcare law President Barack Obama championed.

The chairmanship of the powerful Energy and Commerce panel went to veteran Rep. Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican opposed by some conservatives for crossing party lines to expand a children’s health program and to promote energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs over incandescents. Upton’s opponents wanted Texas Rep. Joe Barton.

The Appropriations Committee, which oversees all federal spending, will be run by Rep. Hal Rogers, a lawmaker of 30 years who has used earmarks to secure millions of federal dollars for his Kentucky district. Taxpayers for Common Sense, which opposes earmarks, criticized the Appropriations chair selection process as a continuation of a “go-along, get-along” system of wasteful spending.

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