Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.) has ousted Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (Mich.), as Democratic lawmakers voted 137-122 Thursday morning to hand the gavel of the powerhouse panel to its second-ranking member.
The vote marks a stunning rebuke of the seniority system Democrats have honored for decades. It also constitutes a win, of sorts, for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is ideologically aligned with Waxman and has clashed repeatedly with Dingell.
That's a big deal. Looks like we could be heading for a progressive Congress. Cue conservative whining.
But one of his supporters, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), said Waxman would do just fine in building coalitions if he's elected chairman. "You always try and scare people about progressives," he said. "It's bulls---."