An acrimonious fight for the gavel of one of the House’s most powerful panels has marred an otherwise seamless transition for Republicans taking power.
Republicans are jockeying fiercely for position in a race to lead the Energy and Commerce Committee — a battle that, at times, has resembled a GOP primary in which candidates run to the right.
The stakes are high. Whoever holds the chairmanship will immediately become one of the driving forces behind the GOP’s push to “repeal and replace” the sweeping healthcare overhaul.
The panel is also ground zero for debates on climate change, telecommunications and the future of the Internet, and the top Republican will have to spar with Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.), the Democratic chairman who will become the committee’s ranking member.