Thursday, November 20, 2008

Henry Waxman Topples Seniority & John Dingell

The House Democratic Caucus ignored seniority to make Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) the new head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, defeating current chairman Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) on a vote of 137-122 . This has to leave a bad taste in the mouth of Dingell, who at 82, acquiesed to increase automobile fuel economy standards last year. Maybe it is just a case of internal weakness and external attack. The auto companies coming to Washington, D.C. with cup in hand
probably did not help Dingell. The vote was still very close. But those private jets combined with a request for a $25 billion loan probably angered some members who would have normally voted for Dingell.

The Energy and Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over health care, energy issues and telecommunications policy. Some felt that Dingell would be less friendly to the Obama agenda than Waxman. Waxman is clearly more aggressive on the environmental agenda items and will now be the point man on new energy legislation in the incoming 111th Congress.

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