Two New Jersey Congressmen are at opposite ends of a intra-party battle for the the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the most powerful posts in Congress. Rob Andrews is working for incumbent John Dingell, an 82-year-old Michigan Democrat who has served in Congress since 1955. Frank Pallone, who is chairman of the Health Subcommittee, is part of the whip team for Dingell's challenger, Henry Waxman, 69, an 18-term Congressman from California who is the second ranking member of the panel. Today, Waxman won the support of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, defeating Dingell 25-22. The full House Democratic conference will pick between the two on Thursday.
The Energy and Commerce Committee oversees legislation on health care, climate change regulations, and good and drug regulations. Dingell has staunchly opposed Waxman's efforts to impose more stringent fuel efficiency standards on Michigan automakers.
This will be the first major vote for U.S. Rep.-elect John Adler, who will replace Republican Jim Saxton in Congress in January. Adler received $5,000 from Waxman and $1,000 from Dingell during his successful bid to become the first Democrat to win election to the House from his district since Thomas Ferrell in 1882.