John Dingell (D-MI) and Henry Waxman (D-CA)
Roll Call reports that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) plans to challenge Rep John Dingell (D-MI) “for chairmanship of the influential Energy and Commerce Committee.” The Committee has jurisdiction over a wide array of issues, including energy policy, health care, and interstate commerce.
In the 110th Congress, Dingell and Waxman took very different stances on global warming issues. In stark contrast, Dingell opposed California’s petition to set automotive emission standards for greenhouse gases, while Waxman led hearings to investigate why the EPA denied the California waiver.
The two also took different paths after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called in January, 2007, for rapid action on legislation that would limit greenhouse emissions. Waxman introduced the Safe Climate Act in March to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Dingell, a longtime defender of the auto industry, instead worked through a series of hearings and white papers on this complex issue to introduce draft legislation this October.
Dingell “put aside” the global warming legislation to push a provision in the 2007 energy bill that increased fuel economy standards for the first time in decades. When signed by President Bush in December, it marked a major achievement for the environment and the economy — but has since been used by the Bush administration for an excuse for inaction on mandatory global warming regulations.
As Roll Call writes, “The move marks a major showdown between two Democratic powerhouses.”
UPDATE: E&E News reports:
“This is a fight for all the marbles,” said one refining industry lobbyist. “If Henry gets this, my god, given the scope of jurisdiction of the Energy and Commerce Committee, all hell will break loose legislatively if Waxman chairs this thing.”