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SPOTLIGHT

1. ENERGY AND COMMERCE:

White House contest may affect Upton's agenda, strategy

Few would have described House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich) as a natural partisan attack dog, though some might argue that he grew into the role at the outset of the 112th Congress. With a long history of moderate votes and a willingness to work across the aisle to move legislation, the 12-term congressman was not seen as a natural provocateur or one who craved the media limelight. However, over the last two years at the helm of a powerful committee, Upton has overseen a slew of hard-hitting probes of the Obama administration, not the least of which was an 18-month-long investigation that made the failed Solyndra solar energy company a household name.

2. OVERSIGHT:

If Romney wins, Issa expected to modify tactics

Two years ago, Rep. Darrell Issa released a 17-page treatise criticizing the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for letting its guard down when President Obama entered the White House. The Democratic-controlled panel, Issa argued, had pursued fewer investigations, fewer hearings and less aggressive oversight than it had when George W. Bush was president. He was pointing out a common criticism: When one party runs both the executive branch and the House, congressional oversight moves to the backburner. The California Republican may soon find himself on the other side of that conventional wisdom.

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