Top Dems Grapple for Waxman’s Post

Eshoo and Pallone square off for top Energy and Commerce job.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
National Journal
Brendan Sasso
Add to Briefcase
Brendan Sasso
Feb. 3, 2014, 9:18 a.m.

Two seni­or House Demo­crats an­nounced Monday that they both want their party’s top job on the power­ful House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee, set­ting up a show­down to re­place Rep. Henry Wax­man.

Rep. Anna Eshoo, who rep­res­ents much of Sil­ic­on Val­ley and is a close ally of House Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi, and Frank Pal­lone, a New Jer­sey Demo­crat who has fo­cused on en­vir­on­ment­al and health is­sues, both are gun­ning for the po­s­i­tion. Wax­man an­nounced last week that he will re­tire at the end of the term after 40 years in Con­gress.

Pal­lone, the more seni­or of the two law­makers, said he has be­gun call­ing his col­leagues about the job, while Eshoo said she has re­ceived the “en­cour­age­ment of mem­bers of the com­mit­tee and the caucus to seek this po­s­i­tion.”

In a state­ment, Eshoo said the pan­el, which handles a sweep­ing ar­ray of policy is­sues in­clud­ing tele­com­mu­nic­a­tions, en­ergy, and health care, is the “Com­mit­tee of the Fu­ture.”

“It is key to shap­ing Amer­ica’s fu­ture, just as my Sil­ic­on Val­ley con­gres­sion­al dis­trict is,” she said. 

She is cur­rently the rank­ing Demo­crat on the pan­el’s sub­com­mit­tee on Com­mu­nic­a­tions and Tech­no­logy, which over­sees the Fed­er­al Com­mu­nic­a­tions Com­mis­sion and deals with oth­er tech­no­logy is­sues.

She is close with tech­no­logy gi­ants in­clud­ing Google and Face­book, and a vo­cal sup­port­er of is­sues im­port­ant to them like net-neut­ral­ity reg­u­la­tions.

Pal­lone, a 13-term law­maker, has fo­cused heav­ily on en­vir­on­ment­al and en­ergy top­ics. He’s cur­rently the top Demo­crat on the pan­el’s health care sub­com­mit­tee.

Pal­lone is an ally of green groups who has long battled to pre­vent drilling off the At­lantic Coast, and has called for re­in­stat­ing a tax on oil and chem­ic­al com­pan­ies to help pay for Su­per­fund cleanups.

As­cend­ing to the com­mit­tee’s top slot would thrust Pal­lone in­to battle with Re­pub­lic­ans seek­ing to dis­mantle or greatly soften White House cli­mate-change policies, es­pe­cially planned car­bon-emis­sions lim­its for power plants.

In a state­ment, Pal­lone said Demo­crats should pick a “lead­er with strong re­la­tion­ships on both sides of the aisle.”

“Even in the of­ten di­vided cli­mate of the last sev­er­al years, I have worked to find com­mon ground with my col­leagues to get things done be­cause I be­lieve that our gov­ern­ment can still do good things that will help Amer­ic­ans and make our na­tion even stronger,” he said.

An­oth­er pos­sible can­did­ate for the post is Rep. John Din­gell, the longest serving mem­ber of Con­gress in his­tory and the former chair­man of the com­mit­tee who was ous­ted by Wax­man in 2008.

In a state­ment, Din­gell left the door open for a pos­sible run at his old job.

“I look for­ward to con­tinu­ing to give this thought­ful con­sid­er­a­tion, speak­ing with my col­leagues upon my re­turn, and from there I will find the ab­so­lute best ways in which I can serve the people of Michigan’s 12th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict,” he said.

Ben Ge­man con­trib­uted

What We're Following See More »
CNN/ORC Has Clinton Up 5 Points
5 hours ago

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 49%-44% in a new CNN/ORC poll out Monday afternoon. But it's Gary Johnson's performance, or lack thereof, that's the real story. Johnson, who had cleared 10% in some surveys earlier this fall, as he made a bid to qualify for the debates, is down to 3% support. He must hit 5% nationwide for the Libertarian Party to qualify for some federal matching funds in future elections.

Rapper Jay Z to Perform Concert for Clinton
5 hours ago
Log Cabin Republicans Don’t Endorse Trump
5 hours ago

While the organization praised him for being "perhaps the most pro-LGBT presidential nominee in the history of the Republican Party," the Log Cabin Republicans refused to endorse Donald Trump for president. The organization, which is the largest gay organization in the United States, said that Trump failed to earn its endorsement because he surrounded himself with anti-LGBTQ people "and committed himself to supporting legislation such as the so-called 'First Amendment Defense Act' that Log Cabin Republicans opposes."

Congress Needs to Deal With Impending Nuclear Plant Closures
6 hours ago

Energy Secretary Ernesto Moniz is warning Congress "that Congress and businesses need to act with more urgency to work out a medley of challenges in promoting nuclear power." A number of nuclear plants are currently on track to close around 2030, unless their licenses are extended from 60 years to 80 years, something that could jeopardize the success of the Clean Power Plan. Moniz called on Congress to pass legislation creating interim storage facilities for used nuclear power.

Trump Pocketed Insurance Money Following 2005 Hurricane
7 hours ago

Donald Trump has said he received a $17 million insurance payment in 2005 following Hurricane Wilma, which he claimed did severe damage to his private club in Florida. However, an Associated Press investigation could not find any evidence of the large-scale damage that Trump has mentioned. Additionally, Trump claimed that he transferred some of the $17 million to his personal account thanks to a "very good insurance policy."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.