The End Of The Dingellsaurus?

by dday

Digby mentioned before the importance of getting Henry Waxman as the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Well, today he was nominated by the House's Steering Committee to be the head of the panel, ahead of longtime chair John Dingell. The implications for such a change would be huge, but it's not over yet.

The House Democratic Steering Committee has nominated Henry A. Waxman to be chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee next year — a stinging rebuke of the sitting chairman, John D. Dingell.

Waxman won a 25-22 vote over Dingell in a closed-door meeting Wednesday by the Steering panel. Because Dingell got more than 13 votes in the secret balloting, he can be nominated to run against Waxman at Thursday’s Democratic Caucus meeting, at which all of the Democrats elected to the 111th Congress are eligible to vote.

That means we have one day to whip our Congresspeople on this vote. Earlier this year, a majority of the House caucus has signed a letter to Nancy Pelosi asking for greater efforts to combat climate change. Waxman at Energy is a key to that happening.

If you want a sense of what we're fighting here, check out the smugness of the Blue Dogs who are fighting for their roadblock:

Dingell’s supporters said they are not worried by the vote of the Steering panel, which they say is stocked with left-leaning members who do not represent the broader makeup of Democratic caucus.

“If you look at the makeup of that committee in terms of geography and political leanings, this is not the same dynamic as our whole caucus,” said Jim Matheson , D-Utah, who is part of a team working the phones for Dingell, D-Mich.

I was skeptical that House Democrats would be pushed in the direction of progress, but with Waxman's former chief of staff, Phil Schiliro, in the Obama White House, some pressure may be coming down from the top. It's in all of our interests to have Henry Waxman atop this committee.

Call Congress and tell your representative you want to see a committee chair with actual ideas on energy as the head of the Energy Committee. In particular, if your member is in the Congressional Black Caucus or the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, both of which appear to be supporting Dingell, ask them if they would like their constituents to breathe clean air in the future.