- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rep. Henry Waxman won a bid to unseat Rep John Dingell as chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee Thursday morning.

Members of the House Democratic Caucus voted 137 to 122 to replace Mr. Dingell of Michigan with California’s Mr. Waxman.

“It was a close vote, it was a contentious vote,” Mr. Waxman said after the meeting.

The House energy committee is expected to be the center of upcoming debate over health care, energy and environmental measures.

Environmentalist applauded Mr. Waxman’s takeover of the committee and voiced excitement about working with him to tackle climate change and clean energy issues.

“Our nation faces many challenges, including the climate crisis, and Congressman Waxman understands that we cant delay in taking on these issues,” said Karen Wayland, legislative director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

She also paid tribute to the outgoing Mr. Dingell, saying the group recognized his contribution on toxics, endangered species and other environmental issues.

Mr. Dingell, 82, is the chamber’s longest-serving Democrat and has more than three decades on the committee. He is also closely allied with U.S. automakers and utilities a position that has pitted him against Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, on some environmental issues.

Mr. Waxman, 69, a fierce partisan whose Los Angeles district includes affluent Beverly Hills neighborhoods, had the backing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the party’s steering committee.

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