January 23, 2007


Internal Rifts Cloud Democrats' Opportunity on Warming (Juliet Eilperin and Michael Grunwald, 1/23/07, Washington Post)

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Dingell (Mich.) -- the longest-serving House member and a legendary defender of his committee's prerogatives as well as the carbon-emitting auto industry of his home state -- had made it clear that he expected to lead the party's global-warming debate in a rather leisurely fashion. Pelosi was end-running him.

When "Big John" chaired Energy and Commerce from 1981 to 1995, the prickly power broker displayed a prominent photo of the Earth to illustrate his view of the panel's jurisdiction. Now the photo is back, along with Dingell's determination to resist interference. A few hours after Pelosi presented her plan to the caucus, Dingell convened the 31 Democrats on Energy and Commerce. Predictably, he saw Pelosi's new committee as a recipe for duplication, incompetence and the suppression of democracy.

Less predictably, Dingell was supported by a longtime Energy and Commerce rival, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, a California liberal who agrees with Pelosi about global warming and persuaded her to co-sponsor his own aggressive climate bill last year, but who also wants her to respect her chairmen. That's because he chairs the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, where he plans to hold hearings on his bill. At the Energy and Commerce meeting, he warned that Pelosi might be scheming to write bills out of her own office.

"That's the way the Republicans did it," Waxman said.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 23, 2007 8:33 AM
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