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Waxman wins initial vote

Round one goes to Henry Waxman.

The California Democrat and senior Jewish lawmaker in the House defeated Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) 25-22 in a vote of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, the first step in Waxman’s attempt to take the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee from Dingell. The commitee recommendation goes to the full caucus, which is expected to vote on Thursday.

The chair of the committee will play a key role in shepherding energy and health care legislation through the House over the next two years. Dingell,82, is close to the auto industry and has in the past has held up legislation mandating U.S. automakers increase fuel-efficiency standards and dragged his feet on dealing with climate change. Waxman, 69, is seen by energy independence advocates as more progressive on  those issues.

For the Jewish perspective on the race, read JTA’s take here.

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