Rift reopens

In one of her initial acts as Speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rubbed Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) the wrong way by creating a global warming committee outside the jurisdiction of his Energy and Commerce panel.

As media coverage of the rift between the powerful lawmakers intensified, Dingell and Pelosi made up by attending an auto show together. But despite that photo-op, their significant policy differences on global warming are still alive and well.

The flap reignited when Dingell and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Air Quality subcommittee, floated an energy bill late last week for comment from lawmakers and interested parties.

Dingell and Boucher got more than just comments. They got an earful. Pelosi put out a statement criticizing the draft bill, claiming it would undercut her state’s “clean cars” rule.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (Calif.), the second-ranking Democrat on Energy and Commerce, stated that he was “so disappointed by the discussion draft … the draft would lead the nation in the wrong direction.”

Waxman’s statements were detailed in a letter sent to Dingell and Boucher yesterday. It was signed by 11 other members of Dingell’s panel, including Rep. Edward MarkeyEd MarkeyTrump's steps on Iran show cooperation with Congress is possible FCC votes to advance net neutrality repeal Senate Dems appeal to 'everyone who uses the internet' on net neutrality roll back MORE (D-Mass.), who chairs the panel that Pelosi created in January.

Dingell is unlikely to “abandon the harmful policies that have been recently proposed,” as the Waxman dozen suggest.

There is no question that Dingell is in a difficult position. As a longtime backer of the auto industry, he doesn’t want to pass a bill that harms the sector that employs many of his constituents. Yet he is being pushed by liberals in his caucus to go much further than he wants to go on global warming.

In a May 14 speech to the Detroit Economic Club, Dingell said passing a climate-change measure “will be the most singularly difficult task” he has faced in his extraordinarily long congressional career.

He said he’s not in favor of the executive branch regulating this issue, as has been endorsed by auto industry leaders, claiming he is not a fan of giving “unfettered authority or discretion to any administration or president — whoever she may be.”

Dingell is confident he can get something done on climate change during this Congress, saying “those who know me are well aware that, when I sink my teeth into an issue, there’s no letting go.”

What Dingell has to worry about, however, are the teeth in his own caucus that are attempting to shred his new proposal.