Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) plans to challenge venerable Representative John Dingell (D-MI) for chairmanship of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee, according to a report from Roll Call.
"The move marks a major showdown between two Democratic powerhouses, with implications for a host of major legislation next year from health care to global warming to renewable energy. Waxman currently chairs the Oversight and Government Reform panel."
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over a wide range of critical issues, including energy policy, health care, interstate commerce issues and most likely global warming policy as well. The committee will no doubt be a critical player in the legislative implementation of President-elect Obama's policy agenda.
Waxman and Dingell have taken two dramatically different stances on global warming and energy during the 110th Congress and a change in chairmanship could reshape the Congressional political landscape on these issues.
Reflecting their differing constituencies, Dingell opposed California (and 15 other states') efforts to set tailpipe emissions standards for greenhouse gases while Waxman led hearings to press EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson on why the agency had blocked California's efforts.
The difference is just as clear when it comes to federal climate policy. In March 2007, Waxman introduced the Safe Climate Act, still the most aggressive proposal for global warming pollution caps in the Congress. In contrast, Dingell and his committee waited until the final hours of the 110th Congress to release a draft outline for economy-wide greenhouse gas regulations.
Roll Call reports that a number of other key House leadership races were also underway, less than 24 hours after the polls closed.
A hat tip to Brad Johnson at the Wonk Room on this one