Waxman's Coup Promises New Agenda

Committee likely to get more aggressive on environment; Dingell's old allies displaced
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2008 1:49 PM CST
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., will head the Energy and Commerce Committee after ousting longtime Democratic heavyweight John Dingell.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Henry Waxman ascension to the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee could pit him against both Republicans and fellow Democrats, Politico reports. Moderate former chair John Dingell, ousted by the liberal Waxman, left many subcommittee heads who could clash with their new boss. And the GOP is up in arms, saying Dems have been “pulled leftward by radical special interests.”

Subcommittee chairmen are already appealing to Waxman, hoping to keep their jobs. Some hail from energy-producing districts, and the needs of their constituents could be at odds with the agenda of environmental-reform-minded Waxman. Meanwhile, Republicans cried foul at the switch. “While Democrats claim to govern from the center,” one top GOP hand said, “they showed their true cards today.”