A six-month campaign and demonstrated strength on the two most important issues the committee will cover in the next Congress – health care and energy – has paid off for U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-Baton Rouge). Cassidy’s office announced today that he’ll be joining the House Energy & Commerce Committee when the Republicans take over the majority in January.
“Energy & Commerce will be at the forefront of recreating health care reform in a way that lowers costs and embraces American values, rather than raising costs and defying our values,” Cassidy said in a statement today. “It will also play a leading role in expanding the safe production of affordable American energy. I’m excited to join the committee, and look forward to getting to work.”
Cassidy hasn’t been assigned a spot on any of the subcommittees yet; that’s a decision new committee chair Fred Upton will be making. It would seem a safe assumption that the two he’ll most likely land on are Health – Cassidy is a practicing physician in a public hospital dealing with a clientele largely lacking insurance coverage – and Energy and the Environment. The other subcommittees in Energy & Commerce are Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, Communications, Technology, and the Internet and Oversight and Investigations.
Energy & Commerce will largely be tasked with a bill for full or partial repeal of Obamacare, and should that fail a legislative dismantling of the president’s health care “reform” package. It will also need to tackle the administration’s treatment of offshore oil drilling and the EPA’s encroachment into state regulation of the practice of hydraulic fracturing – the technique which has opened up Louisiana’s massive Haynesville Shale natural gas play.
Cassidy joins fellow Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise on the Energy & Commerce Committee. Democrat Charlie Melancon will be vacating the committee – and political office – after the lame-duck session.