This morning, Rep. Waxman (D-CA) became the new chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. The California Democrat unseated Rep. Dingell (D-MI) from the post in a secret ballot vote among the House Democratic Caucus. The final vote came in at 137-122. Rep. Waxman will bring a much more liberal voice to the Chairman’s seat. Despite not mentioning his agenda yet, it is more than likely that climate change legislation will be at the top of his list.
One issue Rep. Waxman might face in the House is a clear divide among the Democrats. Rep. Dingell was highly respected and had been the top Democrat on the committee for nearly 30 years—and it is clear by the vote that many wanted him to remain there. Rep. Boucher, for one, stated, "I think it was highly inappropriate, there was no obvious reason for it other than the desire for another person to chair the committee. There was no real substantive reason."