Committee Sides With Waxman Over Dingell

A 25-22 secret ballot vote by the House Democratic steering committee gave Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) a leg-up for chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce committee, ousting longtime Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.).

The vote comes after a frenzied campaign by both lawmakers to whip up support for their candidacies. Waxman had aggressively courted freshmen members of Congress as well as more progressive members, in hopes of taking control of the committee in charge of producing energy and environmental legislation.

Dingell, whose southeast Michigan district is largely dependant on the automotive industry, has sometimes been accused of trying to slow bills increasing emissions standards that could prove costly to the automakers. Dingell had served as the committee's chairman or ranking member since 1981.

Dingell, a veteran representative who was first elected in 1955, is serving his 27th term in Congress.

-Michael O'Brien and Allie Foote

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