The Washington Times - November 21, 2008, 12:41PM

One day after Rep. Henry Waxman, California Democrat, unseated Rep. John Dingell as chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, the top Republican in the House is asking the new chair to hold off on one of his first reforms.

Mr. Waxman supports giving California a waiver to increase their fuel efficiency standards, but House Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican, Friday sent him a letter requesting that he not support a bill that would accomplish this.

Mr. Boehner called the bill a “regulatory assault.”

“Congratulations on your election as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.  In this new position, you will play a critical role affecting the viability of our U.S. auto industry,” Mr. Boehner said in the letter. “As you know, the industry currently faces a severe crisis, and is asking the federal government for tens of billions of taxpayer dollars in new government aid.”

The bill, HR 5660, “would effectively bar the American auto manufacturers from competing in the largest market in America, unless they make substantial changes in manufacturing that would increase costs to consumers,” Mr. Boehner said.

He added that this would make the collapse of the Big Three automakers “even more likely.”

“With millions of jobs at stake and tens of billions of taxpayer dollars at stake, I am respectfully requesting your assurance that you will not use your new post to move this legislation through Congress,” he said.