California Rep. Henry A. Waxman on Thursday officially dethroned longtime Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell, upending a seniority system that has governed Democratic politics in the House for decades.
In a secret ballot vote in the Cannon Caucus Room, House Democrats ratified an earlier decision by the Steering and Policy Committee to replace the 82-year-old Dingell with his 69-year-old rival. The vote was 137-122 in favor of Waxman.
The ascension of Waxman, a wily environmentalist, recasts a committee that Dingell has chaired since 1981 with an eye toward protecting the domestic auto industry in his native Michigan. The Energy and Commerce Committee has principal jurisdiction over many of President-elect Barack Obama's top legislative priorities, including energy, the environment and health care.
This change in the Energy and Commerce Committee will have important consequences for climate policy. We'll have more on the significance of this stunning development soon.
We are at a unique moment in history. We have an opportunity that maybe comes only once in a generation. And I think that the Democratic Caucus agreed with me that we must meet that challenge and move forward on those important policies.
We have a unique opportunity. And we may well turn out to be as historical as the Congress was in 1933.
What I don’t want to see happen is the Congress end up the way we were in 1994, without success. I feel confident we’re going to have the success we need.
The American people are hurting all around this country. They’re demanding change. They’re demanding action. And we must live up to their expectations.
Here's the first installment of what we hope will become a regular 1Sky feature. In this video briefing, Campaign Director Gillian Caldwell talks about the meaning of the 2008 election (and especially the election of Barack Obama) for climate policy, and what we must do next year to make bold climate action in Washington a reality. Please spread this video far and wide!
This is the first post by 1Sky Organizer Melisa Stodieck. -- Luis
UPDATE: Here's our brand-new video about the November 18 day of action:
From California to Florida, success stories and pictures are pouring into 1Sky headquarters, highlighting the collective power of the Climate Leadership Now day of action. We are thrilled about the thousands of people across the country who met with their newly-elected Members of Congress and their staffs to welcome them to the new Congress and call for leadership on bold climate policy immediately.
When it comes to the outlook for climate and energy policy under President-elect Barack Obama and the 111th Congress, there’s the good news, and then there are the serious challenges that we must work together to confront in the critical year that lies ahead.
Over 4,000 climate activists have been fanning out today throughout the country to welcome our newly-elected President and Congress and urge them to take bold climate action next year. More than 300 of them gathered near the U.S. Capitol today for a Climate Action Now rally co-sponsored by 1Sky, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), 350, and other partner organizations. It was freezing in DC today (I should know -- I was there!) but the crowd was still fired up and ready to deliver the call for bold climate solutions to Capitol Hill.
UPDATE: Well, that didn't work so well, did it? Unfortunately, Twitter decided to shut down for "database maintenance" just before the rally started, so I couldn't post any tweets during the rally. So, apologies if you were following us at that time. Hopefully our next live tweetering will go better!
As the new Congress gears up for next year, the House Energy and Commerce Committee (a crucial committee for climate legislation) may experience some important changes. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) is planning to challenge Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), the House’s most senior member, for the chairmanship.
New coal plants are the most urgent threat to our dangerously fragile climate. Just yesterday, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) appeals board issued a ruling that will essentially halt the construction of new coal plants in the United States for the near term.
Huge news came out yesterday--NO NEW COAL PLANTS! The Sierra Club's legal team has forced the EPA to put an immediate halt on the construction of all new coal-fired power plants in the US. This news marks a huge victory for the climate movement! It's Getting Hot in Here