In Big Win For Liberals, Waxman Ousts Dingell As Energy And Commerce Chair
By Greg Sargent and Eric Kleefeld – November 20, 2008, 11:22AM
This is big, big, big. In a victory for the Democratic left, Rep. Henry Waxman has just successfully ousted Rep. John Dingell from his longtime perch as head of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office confirms to us the vote count in the Democratic Caucus moments ago: Waxman 137 votes, Dingell 122 votes.
The defeat of Dingell is a major victory for environmentalists, removing a key obstacle to real energy reform just as a Democrat with climate change high on his agenda takes the Presidency.
Dingell, who first entered the House way back when Eisenhower was president, had been the head Democrat on this committee ever since 1981. But many of the more liberal members over the years came to view him as too friendly to Michigan’s auto industry and hostile to environmentalists — especially on issues like climate change and carbon limits.
It also shakes up Congress’ seniority system and is yet another sign that the political momentum is squarely in the camp of aggressive Dems. Waxman played a lead role in staking out a far more aggressive stance towards the Bush administration than many other more cautious Dems would take.
Waxman used his House Oversight chairmanship to grill the administration over its scandals and incompetence, making him a hero to many Democrats and a viable candidate for change over Dingell.
Now his victory stands as a harbinger of just how much change is coming.
Waxman’s Ascent Could Foreshadow Good Relations Between President And House
By Greg Sargent – November 20, 2008, 1:26PM
Here’s another wrinkle to consider in the wake of Henry Waxman’s stunning ascent to the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Congressional insiders point out that Barack Obama, in a little-noticed move a few days ago, appointed as the top White House liason to Congress one Philip Schiliro, who has spent many of his past 25 years on the Hill working for (you guessed it) Waxman.
In the wake of Waxman’s victory, this is significant. It means Waxman will be closer to the center of the action and will have a direct line into the White House. Congressional insiders also point out that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is an ally of Waxman — and hence, of Obama’s liason to Congress.
Also, as Harold Meyerson points out, Waxman is perhaps the House’s leading legislator on three key issues prioritized by Obama: Universal health care, global warming, and the need for strengthened consumer protections.
All of this presages better relations between the Dem administration and the House than the last Democratic President enjoyed, even while Congress was controlled by Dems. This isn’t a terribly surprising prediction, but it’s another sign that Obama is extremely well positioned to make big things happen rather quickly once he takes power.
READ THE ORIGINAL POST ON THIS STORY HERE – LEARN THE UNBIASED STORY OF REPRESENTATIVE DINGELL’S SERVICE TO AMERICA AND HIS TRUE RECORD ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND CIVIL RIGHTS
Filed under: Auto Industry Bailout, Chrysler LLC, Detroit 3, Detroit 3 Bailout, Environment, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Rep Henry Waxman, Rep John Dingel, Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tagged: | CAFE, Chrysler LLC, Detroit 3, Environment, Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co, Rep Henry Waxman, Rep John Dingell, Speaker Nancy Pelosi