The House Democratic Steering Committee voted 25 to 22 to recommend that Henry Waxman replace John Dingell as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committe. Like yesterday's Lieberman vote in the Senate, this was done by secret ballot. Unlike the Lieberman vote, this has clear policy implications with which the netroots should be pleased: Waxman is well to the left of Dingell on environmental regulations and climate change. A vote for Waxman is a vote to move left on these issues.
It isn't clear whether the entire 255-member Democratic caucus will go along with this narrow vote, but it's a start. Waxman is said to be favored by liberals and freshman Democrats who won their races with the help of Waxman campaign cash. Dingell is believed to be supported by moderate-to-conservative Blue Dogs and members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the latter wanting to preserve the seniority system for committee chairs. Dingell was even more generous with his campaign money than Waxman this year, but he did not target his giving as carefully to winnable races.
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