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Environment

Dem Fight! Winner Gets Chairmanship of the House Energy Committee

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The Democrats have retaken the White House for the first time in nearly a decade—and the happy afterglow is already fading. Gristmill reports that punches are being thrown between John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). The grand prize for this heavyweight bout is chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Dingell, the current chairman, tossed out a few left hooks at Waxman, his challenger, on the radio last week, calling Waxman an "anti-manufacturing left-wing Democrat" with a "serious lack of understanding of people in the auto industry and manufacturing generally." Meanwhile, both men claim to have enough votes for the post. This would all be yet another amusing example of political infighting, except that the committee at stake has principal responsibility for legislative oversight of things like public health, air quality, the environment, and the nation's energy supply. Dingell, who is 82 and has been in Congress since 1955 (we won't even get started on how different a place it was back then) is known for being significantly more moderate than Waxman, and for garnering the support of leaders in industries like autos and mining. Whether that's a reason to support him or not remains to be seen.

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