Steering Committee Goes for Waxman, 25-22

by: Matt Stoller

Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 14:02


This strikes me as very good news.

By a three-vote margin, the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee today recommended that Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman be given the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee, but a final decision will most likely be made by the full Democratic Caucus Thursday. The Steering Committee voted 25-22 in favor of Waxman to replace Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell, according to lawmakers leaving the meeting.

If it's true that the freshmen are breaking heavily for Waxman, and older baron committee chairs are going for Dingell, this adds a lot of firepower to Waxman's case.  Dingell is a vindictive guy, so his case rests on the notion that if you don't vote for him you're going to have problems with the person who will naturally be the Chair of Energy and Commerce.  Cracking the image of inevitability is key to letting members know it's safe to go against Dingell.

The Lieberman fight was discouraging but quite expected.  I'm with Jerome, Ezra, Digby on this one, it's a significant marker in how progressive Congress will be.  If we get a Waxman led E&C Chair, an FCC favorable to net neutrality (run by gamers), and a Treasury Secretary who is not Larry Summers, I'll take Lieberman in the Senate.  Obama wanted him, he got him, and now Obama can manage him.

Still, this House contest is not a done deal.  Given that it's impossible to vote count from the outside and those who try look a bit foolish, I'm not too confident that these results mean what I hope they mean.  But it's undeniable that Dingell's claims that he's going to win this one easily are simply wrong, and the notion that this is a more conservative Democratic caucus is being put to a very real test.

... The members of the steering committee are in the comments, and they tilt slightly liberal.  So it's going to be close if Waxman gets it.

Matt Stoller :: Steering Committee Goes for Waxman, 25-22

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is Obama involved? (0.00 / 0)
He obviously had no qualms about getting involved in internal Senate affairs with the Lieberman dealio. And energy is a big issue for him, and I'm sure he'd prefer Waxman to chair this committee. So what do you think, is he working votes behind the scenes?

no (0.00 / 0)
Progressives are whipping for Waxman, conservatives for Dingell.

[ Parent ]
Not that much of a lines drawn fight (0.00 / 0)
Jim Cooper is whipping for Waxman and Jesse Jackson is whipping for Dingell. But mostly it's a left-right fight.

Time to get on the phones.

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power


[ Parent ]
Junior (0.00 / 0)
strikes me as a bad replacement for Obama, and this position reinforces that.

[ Parent ]
Great news! (0.00 / 0)
It's nice to have some. Looks like we are going to win this fight.

The House seems to be moving in the opposite direction of the Senate. The leadership is becoming more liberal, while the opposite is the case in the other chamber. Perhaps the new fight over the next two years will be House vs. Senate.


Who should be Treasury Secretary? (0.00 / 0)
The three non-Summers names I've heard are Rubin (who ruled it out), Gov. Corzine, and Nouriel Roubini.

Other names?  Thoughts?

Saxby Chambliss  


Tim Geithner (0.00 / 0)
Jim Crammer hates him which is a good indication that he would be good.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
Sheila Bair (0.00 / 0)
not sure how serious the speculation about her is, but I've seen the name floated. She would be good too -- was calling for lots more regulation of the banking industry in 2005 and 2006.

Plus, Obama would get cred for appointing a Republican to a key post, and maybe we could get rid of Gates.


[ Parent ]
Pass (4.00 / 1)
"Credibility" is worth a whole lot less than $350 billion, which is what the next Treasury Secretary will be spending.

No thanks. No Republicans there. Given that we won the election on the economy, giving a Republican control over it would be the exact opposite of the change we need, and what people voted for.


[ Parent ]
She did put forth (0.00 / 0)
a good proposal on reducing foreclosures but I'd much rather Geithner.

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
We are past begging for scraps (4.00 / 1)
Finding a less heinous Republican to chair these things is what we did from 2000-2008. That time is over. Move on and look for picks that are actually good, not just good relative to the cartoonish suckitude of the Bush administration.

[ Parent ]
Well (4.00 / 1)
I would argue she's not a "less heinous" Republican and in fact better then many Democrats being mentioned. But I doubt she's even in the running so the point is moot.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
middle of the pack (4.00 / 1)
I would prefer Sheila Bair to Larry Summers, and I think she would be more progressive than Summers. I also think it is pretty important for the next Treasury secretary to be somebody who doesn't come from a big Wall Street firm, and so I would also probably prefer Bair to Rubin or Corzine.
Republicans certainly don't have a stranglehold on supporting mindless corporate deregulation.

That isn't to say that there aren't better options than Bair, I'm sure there are. But I think that even though she is a Republican, she would be better than a substantial fraction of Democrats floated for Treasury Secretary.


[ Parent ]
Nouriel Roubini (4.00 / 3)
You heard he was actually being considered by the Obama campaign? He would a superb choice - a breathtaking appointment - especially considering the Rahm-Clinton-Daschle medicine I'm currently being forced to swallow.

We need someone as Treasury Secretary who actually predicted the financial crisis, not someone who at least indirectly caused it, like Larry Summers.

Don't take my word for it. Here's some Roubini, just for you.


[ Parent ]
How exactly is it possible that we win this while losing on Lieberman? (0.00 / 0)
  • Both Dingel and Lieberman have policy positions that conflict with the Democratic agenda.
  • Both hold chairmanships that will allow them to interfere with that agenda.
  • The only difference is, Dingel is a generally good Democrat, while Lieberman is an independent who supported Republicans in the last election.

So Lieberman wins and Dingel loses? WTF.


House vs. Senate (4.00 / 1)
In the House the majority party can easily pass legislation, whereas 41 senators (or, in some cases a single senator) can block passage of something.

Thus, Lieberman defecting and voting against the majority would have real consequences in a way that Dingell defecting would not.  


[ Parent ]
Possible reasons (4.00 / 2)
- The House has more progressives than the Senate.
- Because there are nearly 500 Representatives, the House isn't susceptible to the same clubby atmosphere as the smaller Senate.
- Dingell, at 82, is probably closer to ending his career than the 66-year-old Lieberman. There is less "fear" of Dingell hanging around to backstab and sabotage Democratic efforts in the future. (Of course, this argument completely ignores the fact that CT won't give Lieberman another Senate term & Dingell could hold on to his seat forever).

I agree that it doesn't seem logical for Dingell to be pushed out while the traitorous Lieberman remains. But, I do think Waxman deserves the Chairmanship. Dingell is better than Lieberman, but he's not better than Waxman.


[ Parent ]
It does seem to me (0.00 / 0)
That "progressive causes do well in the house, but get voted against by 35 of 50 Democrats in the Senate" has been a consistent pattern of the last two years and should no longer be surprising.

[ Parent ]
You know, this is kinda weird (0.00 / 0)
I can't seem to find anywhere who the actual members of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee are.

Members (4.00 / 1)
I found them

From CQ's 2008 Political Almanac:

Two Notes: Tom Udall and Rahm Emanuel are probably the two that didn't vote, and as you can see from the list its pretty packed with California Reps: 10 out of 49.

Chairwoman - Nancy Pelosi (CA)
Co-Chairwoman - Rosa DeLauro (CT)
Co-Chairman - George Miller (CA)
Vice-Chairwoman - Hilda Solis (CA)
Vice-Chairman - Allen Boyd (FL)
Vice-Chairwoman - Maxine Waters (CA)

Alabama - Artur Davis
Arizona - Ed Pastor,
California - Dennis Cardoza, Doris Matsui, Jerry McNerney, Loretta Sanchez, Brad Sherman, Mike Thompson,    
Colorado - Diana DeGette
Connecticut - John Larson
Florida - Kathy Castor, Kendrick Meek, Debbie Wasserman Schultz,
Georgia - John Lewis,
Illinois - Jerry Costello, Rahm Emanuel, Jan Schakowsky,
Louisiana - Charlie Melancon
Maryland - Steny Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger,  
Massachusetts - Mike Capuano, Barney Frank, John Tierney,  
Michigan - John Dingell
Mississippi - Gene Taylor
New Jersey - Rush Holt,
New Mexico - Tom Udall,  
New York - Charlie Rangel, Kirsten Gillibrand, Gregory Meeks, Louise Slaughter, Nydia Velazquez  
North Carolina - G.K. Butterfield
Ohio - Marcy Kaptur, Tim Ryan,  
South Carolina - Jim Clyburn, John Spratt,
Tennessee - Jim Cooper, John Tanner,
Texas - Lloyd Doggett, Gene Green,
Wisconsin - Tammy Baldwin, Dave Obey,  


[ Parent ]
No (0.00 / 0)
The Steering Committee that met today is the Committee for the 111th Congress, you're using the 110th Steering Committee. The 111th Congress Democratic Steering Committee membership was chosen yesterday (Tuesday) So many of the people are the same but some aren't notably those who are no longer a part of the caucus (like Emanuel) but also the regional representatives have to deal with term limits so people like Brad Sherman are no longer on the steering committee because their term is up. It's hard to get find the list since the House Democratic Steering Committee doesn't have a website unlike their Senate counterpart.

[ Parent ]
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