Reaction to Energy and Commerce Chairmanship Vote

House Democrats voted 137-122 yesterday to elect Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, replacing the current chairman, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI. The move was significant in terms of practice, with Dingell’s seniority being trumped, as well as in terms of politics and policy, as Waxman is much more willing to aggressively regulate and direct the economy. So, a sample of the reaction…


  • San Francisco Chronicle, “Waxman win boosts state’s clout in Congress“: “After years battling the Bush administration and Dingell over the state’s efforts to set the nation’s toughest limits on greenhouse gases, Californians now control both House and Senate committees that will be writing climate-change legislation. They will have key allies in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and President-elect Barack Obama, who just this week pledged rapid action on global warming.”


  • Detroit Free Press, “Dingell’s ouster as committee chair a sea change in Michigan’s clout“: “In a historic week that saw Michigan’s prestige in the nation’s capital rapidly dwindle with automakers spurned in their request for billions of dollars in aid, Dingell, the state’s most powerful voice in the U.S. House of Representatives, was stripped of a key committee chairmanship….For decades, the post had allowed the Dearborn Democrat to promote and protect Michigan’s interests — especially the automotive industry….Rep. Thad McCotter, a Livonia Republican, characterized it as ‘a body blow’ to Michigan families.”


  • Detroit News editorial, “Dingell’s defeat a victory for California extremists“: “The Democrats didn’t choose Rep. Henry Waxman to replace Dingell because the California Democrat is more charming or politically persuasive. They picked him because he advocates a radical approach to combatting global warming and other environmental threats, while Dingell has insisted on a more deliberate approach that balances the needs to protect both jobs and the environment.”


  • Wall Street Journal editorial, “The Waxman Democrats — What the coup against Dingell means for business“: “We should add that Mr. Dingell is hardly some business apologist. At Energy and Commerce in the 1980s and early 1990s, Mr. Dingell would burn the paint off the committee room walls with his interrogations of energy, insurance and drug company executives. The irony is that Democrats have found, in Mr. Waxman, an even more extreme antibusiness tribune, who will no doubt use his new powers to go after any concern that turns a profit but refuses to pay his party the obeisance of campaign cash and regulatory submission. In short, the Democrats have ousted the dean of the House for the spleen of the House.”


  • Grist (Gristmill), “Dingell, buried – Waxman’s win signals shift in Congress on climate and energy policy“: “At age 69 and after having served 33 years in the House himself, Waxman is certainly not a new face in Congress. But he’s seen as a leader of a younger and more liberal batch of Democratic representatives, and climate change is one area where he’s been out in front. As the second-ranking Democrat on Energy and Commerce, he has advocated for much tougher climate change policies than Dingell. His “Safe Climate Act” of 2006 called for emissions cuts of 80 percent below 1990 levels by mid-century. He also cosponsored a bill to ban new coal-fired power plants earlier this year, and joined with Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) to author a tough statement of principles for climate legislation that calls for strong near-term emissions targets, the auctioning of emissions permits, and major investment in clean-energy technology. So far, they’ve gathered 152 signatures from representatives supporting those principles – the majority of the Democratic caucus.”


  • Bloomberg, “Waxman Win Is Boon for Environmentalists, Bust for Utilities“: “Waxman also is a foe of ‘hydraulic fracturing,’ a decades-old drilling technique that environmentalists complain threatens the safety of drinking water. Waxman last year held a hearing on the practice, which is regulated by states, and called for tougher oversight. “


  • Calgary Herald, “Oilsands foe wins energy chair“: “In another sign the environmental agenda is likely to figure prominently amongst the new leaders in Washington, an ardent climate change campaigner — who has battled against expansion of oilsands production — has been elected chairman of an influential Congressional committee.”


Leave a Reply