Waxman Defeats Dingell For Coveted Chairmanship California Rep. Henry Waxman on Thursday unseated Rep. John Dingell for the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Dingell, 82, of Michigan, had been the top Democrat on the panel for 28 years.

Waxman Defeats Dingell For Coveted Chairmanship

NPR's Brian Naylor talks about the vote with Steve Inskeep on 'Morning Edition'

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House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) arrives for the House Democratic Caucus meeting Thursday on Capitol Hill. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) arrives for the House Democratic Caucus meeting Thursday on Capitol Hill.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

California Rep. Henry Waxman on Thursday unseated Rep. John Dingell for the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in a move that represents a generational and ideological shift for the powerful body.

Dingell, 82, of Michigan, had been the top Democrat on the panel for 28 years. The 137-122 vote in favor of Waxman, 69, caps a bruising intraparty battle between the rivals, who have long been at odds over clean air policy and, more recently, have had disagreements over the pace at which to limit greenhouse gases.

The Energy and Commerce panel is one of the most important House committees, with sweeping jurisdiction over energy, the environment, consumer protection and health care programs such as Medicaid and the popular State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Waxman chaired the Energy and Commerce panel's Health and Environment subcommittee for 16 years.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a home-state ally of Waxman and has tangled with Dingell in the past. In 2002, she supported Dingell's primary campaign opponent. Last year, in a move viewed as undercutting Dingell's committee jurisdiction on the global warming issue, she created a special panel led by liberal Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey to make the case for bigger reductions in greenhouse gases.