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Rep. Fred Upton. Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, the former chairman of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, will announce today that he's joining the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus.

Why it matters: He is by far the most prominent and high-profile GOP lawmaker with jurisdiction over energy policy to join the 2-year-old House group.

  • Upton, who has been in Congress for over 30 years, is currently chairman of the Energy subcommittee after serving the maximum three terms atop Energy and Commerce (E&C).
  • Upton will enter the group, which is evenly divided between the parties, with Democrat Jan Schakowsky, bringing its total membership to 68 lawmakers.

Quoted: “When it comes to climate change we must take an economically realistic and pragmatic approach,” Upton said in a statement, adding that the group provides a "tremendous opportunity" to work across the aisle.

  • "Pursuing an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy that protects our environment, preserves our Great Lakes, and ensures energy stays affordable for Michigan families has always been a focus," he said.
  • Upton also highlighted the E&C's recent efforts to bolster hydropower and natural gas. "We must continue to promote climate strategies that champion conservation, innovation, and competition," he said.

Yes, but: The caucus has faced persistent criticism from the left that it's a paper tiger, given the participation of GOP lawmakers who have opposed greenhouse gas regulation and disputed mainstream climate science.

  • Recently most of its Republicans voted for the tax bill that opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Upton himself, as E&C chairman, pushed back strongly against key Obama-era climate change rules.

What's next: As we noted in Generate last week, GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo, the group's co-chairman, told the publication Yale Environment 360 that he wants the group to begin offering policy proposals in this Congress or the next one.

This piece has been updated with further quotes.

Go deeper

40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's latest executive order: Buy American

President Joe R. Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services.

Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.

The pandemic could be worsening childhood obesity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The 10-month long school closures and the coronavirus pandemic are expected to have a big impact on childhood obesity rates.

Why it matters: About one in five children are obese in the U.S. — an all-time high — with worsening obesity rates across income and racial and ethnic groups, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show.

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