Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) was named as the new House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman. The nine-term congressman and former radio station owner currently chairs the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. Walden for the past four years served as chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee. He will succeed outgoing committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who was term-limited in the position.
The Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to hold major influence next Congress. With its jurisdiction over issues related to water, health, energy, telecommunications and internet policymaking, the panel will have a role in several high-profile Republican efforts, including repealing and replacing the 2010 health care overhaul. The committee also will seek to reauthorize a user fee program at the Food and Drug Administration that funds almost half of the agency’s activities.