Waxman wins opener in chairman bid


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The senior Jewish lawmaker in the U.S. House of Representatives won the first round in his bid to unseat the chairman of a powerful committee.

At a meeting Wednesday of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) defeated Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), 25-22, in a vote for leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the next Congress. The committee’s recommendation goes to the full Democratic caucus, which is likely to vote Thursday.

The committee chair 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 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 is seen by energy independence advocates as more progressive on  those issues.

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