Washington -- House Democrats on Thursday ousted Rep. John Dingell (D.-Mich.) as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, replacing him with Rep. Henry Waxman (D.-Calif.) in a secret ballot held behind closed doors on Capitol Hill.
Over the years, Waxman has shown little interest in media and telecommunications policy, preferring to focus on energy and health legislation. Dingell was instrumental in passing the Cable Act of 1992, which re-regulated cable operators and allowed TV stations to demand cash for pay-TV distributors.
Network neutrality legislation, designed to protect Internet content providers from discriminatory actions by broadband access providers, could land on Waxman's agenda if courts restrict the Federal Communications Commission's ability to police bandwidth management practices of network owners.
Dingell issued the following statement: “Well, this was clearly a change year and I congratulate my colleague Henry Waxman on his success today. I will work closely with him on the issues facing the Energy and Commerce Committee and for a smooth transition.
“What will not change, however, and what will never change, is my commitment to the working men and women of the 15th Congressional District of Michigan who have honored me with the opportunity to represent them here in Washington,” he continued. “That commitment – to protecting and creating jobs, to providing health care for all Americans, to working to getting our state and nation’s economy back on track – is a fight I will continue to wage in Washington.”