John Dingell may have been ousted as chairman of the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee, but he may already be angling to retain some clout. In fact, the Michigan Democrat, who lost his throne in a powerplay with Henry Waxman last week, may make a bid for another, albeit less prestigious position, according to The Hill.
Dingell’s supporters on the committee are said to be encouraging the 82-year-old congressman to take the chairmanship of the panel’s Health subcommittee, which would give him a platform to introduce his version of univerisal healthcare. In every Congress since being elected in 1955, Dingell has introduced universal healthcare reform legislation, The Hill points out.
“Healthcare has been his passion since he was elected,” according to a top aide to one of the lawmakers who pitched Dingell on the idea. “National healthcare is his life’s dream.”
Presumably, this does not thrill Frank Pallone Jr., the New Jersey Democrat who chairs the Health panel. A spokesman tells The Hill that he had not heard about the possibility of Dingell taking the gavel, and adds that Pallone doesn’t want to give it up. Pallone supported Waxman over Dingell, by the way. Meanwhile, a Dingell spokesman did not comment.
The musical chairs occur against a backdrop of confused maneuvering among committee staffers who are jostling for jobs amid the regime change.