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Thread: Dingell Ousted: Big Change in Congress

  1. #1

    Dingell Ousted: Big Change in Congress

    This is going to have big implications for energy legislation, the fate of the automakers, and many other things going forward, because John Dingell was basically wholly owned by the Big 3 and Waxman, to put it mildly, is not.

    [QUOTE]Longtime Head of House Energy Panel Is Ousted

    WASHINGTON — Representative Henry A. Waxman of California ousted Representative John D. Dingell of Michigan from his post as chairman of the influential Committee on Energy and Commerce on Thursday, giving President-elect Barack Obama an advantage in his plans to promote efforts to combat global warming.

    By a secret vote of 137 to 122, House Democrats ended Mr. Dingell’s nearly 28-year reign as his party’s top member on the committee. In doing so, Mr. Waxman’s backers upended the seniority system to install a leader more in tune with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a variety of issues.

    Although Ms. Pelosi did not formally endorse Mr. Waxman, members of the Democratic caucus understood that she could have stopped him if she had wished. The incoming Obama administration had also signaled its direction when it named Philip Schiliro, a longtime and loyal aide to Mr. Waxman, as the new White House director of Congressional relations.

    [B]Besides seating a committed environmentalist as head of the energy committee, the vote also removes one of the auto industry’s best friends from a key leadership post — further evidence of how much power the American car-makers, whose executives have been pleading for federal money, have lost in Congress.[/B]

    The vote on Thursday morning reportedly surprised some Dingell supporters, who had expected Mr. Dingell to prevail despite Wednesday’s 25-to-22 vote by the Democrats’ Steering and Policy Committee in favor of Mr. Waxman’s challenge.

    Mr. Dingell has been the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce committee since 1981 and has been in Congress since 1955, having won his seat in a special election after his father died in office. In February, Mr. Dingell will become the longest-serving member in the history of the House.

    Speaker Pelosi, who has often clashed with Mr. Dingell, particularly on environmental matters, leads the steering committee, which includes the entire House leadership. Ms. Pelosi backed a candidate who opposed Mr. Dingell in a Democratic primary in 2002, but she has remained officially neutral in the Dingell-Waxman brawl. The steering committee vote was conducted in secret.

    The chairmanship of the Committee on Energy and Commerce is a key post, since the committee will handle legislation on climate change, energy and health care that President-elect Obama is hoping to move through the new Congress.

    Mr. Waxman, who has been the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, was backed by many environmentalists for his stands on clean air and global warming, and he has a long record of leadership on health care issues.

    Environmental groups reacted swiftly and mostly positively to the ascension of Mr. Waxman. “Chairman Waxman has been a leader on global warming for many years, and we look forward to working closely with him in his new role,” said Karen Wayland, legislative director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    Mr. Dingell has also shepherded numerous environmental and health care bills through Congress in his decades of service. He has sponsored universal health care legislation in every session of Congress since he was first elected. Both men are considered hard-driving chairmen, but Mr. Waxman is generally regarded as more liberal than Mr. Dingell, and has sponsored tougher global warming legislation. Mr. Dingell’s backers argued, unsuccessfully, that he was more likely to knit together a broad coalition of labor, industry and environmentalists in fashioning a climate change bill.

    Mr. Waxman, 69, ran a low-key campaign for the post, in part because his challenge upsets the seniority system in the House and in part because Mr. Dingell, at 82, has had a number of health problems, including recent knee-replacement surgery.

    Mr. Waxman said through a spokesman on Wednesday that he was a better leader to push Mr. Obama’s agenda through Congress.

    “I am running for the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee because we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to advance health care, achieve energy independence and tackle climate change,” he said in a statement. “These are difficult and contentious issues, and I believe I can provide effective leadership so that Congress and the new administration working together can deliver results for the American people.”

    Meanwhile, House Republicans picked their leadership team Wednesday, keeping Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio at their helm, favoring him over Representative Dan Lungren of California, who mounted a last-minute challenge. Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, who is considered a rising star in the party, will be the No. 2 Republican, and Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, a leader of the conservative bloc, will take over at No. 3. Mr. Cantor and Mr. Pence were not opposed.

    In his remarks to the Republicans, Mr. Boehner said two straight elections with significant losses had provided Republicans with an opportunity to get themselves back on track if they come up with innovative approaches, promote reform and strike the right tone in expressing their opposition to a government controlled by Democrats.

    “In recent years Americans lost faith in us, stopped believing we are what we claim to be,” Mr. Boehner told his colleagues. “There are various views on why. Some blame President Bush. Others blame Congressional Republicans and our own actions during our 12 years in the majority. While there are many views on why Americans lost their faith, we’re unanimous on one thing: it’s time to win it back.”

    The House Republican caucus has so far balked at a chance to meet with Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the former House Democratic strategist who has been named the new White House chief of staff. Mr. Emanuel, who has been reaching out to Congressional Republicans since his selection as chief of staff, is set to meet on Thursday with some Senate Republican leaders and individually with some House Republicans.

    Carl Hulse and David Stout contributed reporting.[/QUOTE]

  2. #2
    Hall Of Fame
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Montville, NJ
    good! I much prefer Waxman's environmental positions/policies

  3. #3
    Ready for a windmill in your backyard?

  4. #4
    Hall Of Fame
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Montville, NJ
    [QUOTE=MnJetFan;2872223]Ready for a windmill in your backyard?[/QUOTE]

    I've already looked into it... VERY affordable! And since I live on top of a ridge but surrounded by tall trees (mostly ash and oak) and no south facing roof lines... wind is much more feasible/beneficial than solar


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