Coup d'etat at the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee.
By JOSEPH RAGO
Henry Waxman moved to consolidate his coup d'etat at the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee just hours after he was installed as the new chairman this week. It appears that the California liberal, with his customary subtlety, is plotting a night of the climate-change long knives.
Democrats dumped the current Chairman John Dingell because he does not favor global-warming action aggressive enough to suit the party's green wing. Now his lieutenants, who've been known to share his views, are targets too. Gene Green, an oil-patch Democrat who chairs the subcommittee on environmental issues, sent out a panicked Dear Colleague letter that called for "healing" and volunteered that he has enjoyed working "with Chairman Waxman on a number of other issues and I would hope to continue it."
Then Bart Stupak -- Mr. Dingell's chief deputy, head of the investigations subcommittee and resident FDA demagogue -- chimed in that he, too, looks forward to carrying on "the important work Chairman Dingell and I began."
But the Dingell ally who should be looking over his shoulder most nervously is Rick Boucher, chairman of the energy subcommittee. Mr. Boucher has been a friend to the coal industry and hardly finds himself in a comfortable position now when his incoming boss supports a moratorium on coal-fired power. Mr. Boucher's likely replacement is Ed Markey, Nancy Pelosi's climate-change point man, now head of the telecom subcommittee. In a fit of anti-Dingell pique, Speaker Pelosi last year stripped Mr. Dingell of jurisdiction over climate change, giving the portfolio to a special panel run by Mr. Markey. Never mind that the new panel, under House rules, lacks the power to mark up legislation. Mr. Dingell called the committee "as useless as feathers on a fish" and "an embarrassment to everybody."
No doubt Mr. Dingell's comments were among the many sins he's now paying for. Soon taxpayers will be paying a stiff price too if Mr. Waxman and company succeed in their plans to use federal money to subsidize all kinds of "green" energy interest groups.