NILES — Unhappy with gas prices? Chances are, they’re about to go higher.
"Egypt doesn’t produce oil but it controls the route,’’ he said.
As for Egypt’s shaky government, President Hosni Mubarak’s leadership appears to be coming to an end, Upton said. He wouldn’t go so far as to describe Mubarak as a dictator but characterized his three decades of rule as "pretty strong-handed.’’
"It appears the writing is on the wall as far as Mubarak’s tenure,’’ the congressman said. "The U. S. has encouraged him to rule more democratically, and that’s been met with stone silence. Now, it looks like the game is up.’’
The situation is an example of why the United States needs to become more energy independent, he said, pointing out 70 percent of U. S. oil is produced overseas.
As for Upton’s promotion to chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the panel that’s expected to consider possible changes to last year’s health care initiative now known as Obamacare, Upton said he’s confident at least some of the "bad parts’’ of the bill will be eliminated. He was among the House Republicans who voted recently to repeal and replace health-care legislation.
Regarding aspects of the bill he objects to, Upton said Obama’s initial stance that Americans who liked their health-care plans could keep them took a major hit in the bill that passed Congress.
"For almost eight years, companies had incentives to provide employees with prescription drugs. Obamacare took that away,’’ Upton said. "There are lots of examples of that.’’
Obama has said he’s willing to tweak the 2,700-page health-care reform law but won’t repeal it. It’s also unlikely the Senate, which remains under Democratic control, will make any significant changes.
As he did in his primary race against Jack Hoogendyk and his general campaign versus Don Cooney, Upton emphasized the need for electric-powered cars and increased electricity production. A strong proponent of nuclear power, he said the time frame for approval of reactor permits needs to be shortened from the current 10 to 20 years to four or five years.
Also, he said, the United States needs to take a closer look at recycling spent fuel rods.
"They’ve been doing it for years in France,’’ he said. "They can recycle 90 percent of it.’’
Upton said Congress this month will take up a continuing resolution intended to cap spending at 2010 levels. Current legislation expires March 4, he said, adding House Republicans want to roll back spending even more, to 2008 levels.
"I’m not sure the Senate would go along,’’ he said.