House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) has decided to challenge for the Chairman position on the Energy & Commerce Committee. Rep. Dingell (D-MI), the current Chairman, is, according to The Politico, “a long-time Waxman rival.” Who the Chairman is is significant because it may affect the Energy & Commerce Committee's handling of two important issues facing the next administration: climate change and health care.
Chairman Waxman has spoken with Chairman Dingell to inform him of his intent to challenge for the position and both staffs have released statements. Waxman’s statement, in part reads:
That is why after long thought I have decided to seek the chairmanship of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Some of the most important challenges we face — energy, climate change, and health care — are under the jurisdiction of the Commerce Committee. In large measure, our success as Congress will depend on how the Commerce Committee performs.
In response, Dingell’s spokeswoman Jodi Seth said, “Dingell is talking to colleagues and receiving tremendous support," she said. "We are confident he will return as chairman of the committee.”