Rep. Waxman says Health Care Reform will go via Reconciliation

I had the privilege of attending UCLA's annual Bollens-Ries-Hoffenberg lecture tonight, which featured Rep. Henry Waxman, who represents the area around UCLA and who is Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Waxman spoke on a number of subjects, including the pending Clean Energy bill, Financial Regulation, the pursuit of bi-partisanship and compromise.  His most immediately significant remarks, however, was an indication in that Health Care Reform will be passed via the Reconciliation Process.



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Backing Waxman over Dingell

The chattering class in DC is all up in arms about the potential of a Clinton SoS. I didn't really care before, but if anything, the opposition to it by winders like Broder and Friedman and Dowd should make any blue-blooded blogger desire it much, but I can't get excited about it.

Neither have I been too enthralled over the Lieberman challenge. We are at 58 seats in the Senate now, if Franken and Martin win, and that, with Lieberman, gets us to 60. That's the bigger picture. Lieberman will get his due in 2012, hopefully with Lamont running again-- which I've encouraged him to do every chance I've seen him over the past couple of year since the '06 mid-term.

The real conflict, Matt and Digby are right, is the Dingell versus Waxman battle over the Chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Ezra is right too, about this being the first big challenge in the House, over how serious the body is about doing something about global warming, but its bigger than even that looming issue.

Waxman is the one that should win this battle. No ifs ands or buts. If he doesn't, and seniority takes priority over progressive principles, we are not on the right path.

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What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

CNN is reporting that Henry Waxman, a favorite among environmentalists, is challenging John Dingell for Chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  I could hardly sum up the current challenges of our country more succinctly than "Energy and Commerce" and it would be great to have a more easily recognizable Progressive in charge of this committee.

John Dingell is from Dearborn, MI and is widely considered to be friendly to the automobile industry.  This is an industry that has essentially dismantled public transportation, blocked many reasonable proposals to increase energy efficiency, and is losing badly in the current economic environment.  Then again, the auto industry is probably one of the largest remaining unionized workplaces in the country and John Dingell, despite his supposed ties to the industry, has been given ratings of 94 and 100% by League of Conservation Voters for the past two House sessions.

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100 Hours, committee shenanigans: Pelosi goes wayward?

I suggested a little earlier that the Sandwich Repairman may have read a little more into the House roll call votes on the 100 Hours bills than the evidence could bear.

Interesting, in the light of which, to read a Post piece from today which is a veritable indignation meeting of Dem reps who feel that Pelosi is not given them a fair crack of the whip.

Now, on one level this is just the white-noise grousing of a bunch of folks who would not be satisfied if fed turtle soup and venison with a gold spoon.

(So, don't believe the hype.)

On the other hand, it does raise a further line of enquiry on the 100 Hours votes:

backstage, the firm -- some say heavy-handed -- style Pelosi used to ensure passage of those bills...

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Bird's Eye View of Taking the Oath

The last time my son Jon joined me as I took my oath of office was my first election to Congress.  There, after a special election, I was the sole focus of attention as the oath administered by then Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.  I was the only new member sworn in that day and had a chance to speak on the floor of the US House of Representatives. We then retreated to one of the magnificent rooms adjacent to the floor where Newt graciously reenacted the swearing-in so that it could be photographed with family and friends.  I began 11 years as a member of the minority party.

Last Thursday, as I took the oath office for the 110th Congress--this time with 434 others--things could not have been more different.

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