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Pelosi, Dingell Families Unite on Global Warming

Sometimes on Capitol Hill there are personal feuds, other times there are policy disputes. Once in a while, there are personal feuds connected to big policy disputes among the major players of an individual party's caucus -- and that's when you need to pull out all the stops to prevent a civil war.

And so goes the feud between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the chairman of the all powerful Energy and Commerce Committee.

With the ongoing soap opera of the proposed House special committee on global warming as a backdrop, the Democratic National Committee will take up a resolution staking out a party platform pushing for energy independence at its annual winter meeting later this week here in the nation's capital.

But it's not what this resolution says that is important, rather, who's offering it: Debbie Dingell and Christine Pelosi. In addition to being committee members of the DNC, Christine Pelosi is the daughter of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Dingell is the wife of Chairman John Dingell. The two lawmakers have been at loggerheads over the speaker's proposal to start the special global warming committee, which would hold hearings and be designed to kick start committee chairmen, particularly Dingell, into tackling global warming legislation during the 110th Congress.

In addition to a long-running personal feud rooted in intra-caucus politics, Pelosi has misgivings about leaving the increasingly important issue of global warming to Dingell, who ideologically has aligned himself with his home-state interests in the auto industry and resisted any efforts at reining in auto emissions.

Now, Debbie Dingell and Christine Pelosi, a former House Democratic staffer, are leading the effort to bring the two sides back from the brink of full-blown battle on the House floor over the special committee. And DNC Chairman Howard Dean is pitching in as well.

"Friends: we are pleased to report that support is growing for the DNC energy independence resolution," a DNC email said Monday, which was given to Capitol Briefing. (Read the full resolution at the end of this post.)

Dean, Debbie Dingell and Christine Pelosi are offering the resolution together and party strategists on and off Capitol Hill are interpreting it as the latest effort at détente. Last week, Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Dingell staged a photo opportunity together while looking at hybrid vehicles at the Washington Auto Show at the behest of Debbie Dingell, whose main job is working in the Ford Motor Co.'s General Motors' Washington office.

The resolution was sparked by Christine Pelosi, according to a Democratic strategist familiar with the situation. A few other key figures have since signed on, including Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), who serves as a vice-chairman of the DNC, and Terry Lierman, chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party and one of Dean's first supporters during his 2004 presidential campaign.

So, do all these staged photo ops and DNC resolutions pushed by the Pelosi-Dingell-Dean family signal that the feud is over, the campfire is lit and everyone's going to sing kumbaya as Democrats prepare to take on global warming and the auto industry?

Not so fast.

As Al Kamen reported in Monday's "In the Loop" column, Dingell is still reserving all his options depending on how negotiations proceed in the coming weeks on the special committee.

And a quick read of the DNC resolution reveals lots of pledges to finding alternative energy sources but doesn't say a word about the auto industry. That touchy topic was left out.

"The Democratic National Committee supports Democratic elected officials in Congress and in states and local communities across the country who are working toward energy independence, security and diversity as well as a safe, clean environment," the proposed resolution currently concludes.


The Full DNC proposed resolution:

> Friends: we are pleased to report that support is
> growing for the DNC Energy Independence Resolution
> submitted by Chairman Howard Dean (VT), Debbie
> Dingell (MI), and Christine Pelosi (CA). We
> appreciate the support expressed by many of you,
> particularly our new co-sponsors: Hon. Mike Honda,
> DNC Vice Chair (CA), Rachel Binah (CA), Mary Ellen
> Early (CA), Jenny Greenleaf (OR), Terry Lierman
> (MD), Mona Pasquil (CA), Bob "Big Red" Rankin (CA),
> Mannie Rodriquez (CO), and Taling M. Taitano (Guam).
> Please reply to this email if you wish to add your
> name.
> The following resolution will be considered by the
> DNC Resolutions Committee at its meeting on February
> 1, 2007, in conjunction with the meetings of the
> Democratic National Committee, February 1-3, 2007.
> Submitted by:
> Gov. Howard Dean, DNC Chair/Vermont
> Debbie Dingell, Michigan
> Christine Pelosi, California
> Resolution Supporting Energy Independence and a
> Clean, Healthy Environment
> WHEREAS, Democrats strongly support measures that
> promote energy security and a safe, clean
> environment by reducing our dependence on oil,
> eliminating billions in tax breaks for big oil
> companies, and increasing research and development
> into clean renewable energy and efficiency
> technologies; and
> WHEREAS, energy independence can be achieved by
> innovation, diversifying energy sources, creating
> energy efficient products, and promoting
> conservation measures; and
> WHEREAS, energy independence will create a new
> energy industry that creates jobs and stimulates
> economic growth;
> WHEREAS, America must have a 21st century
> transportation system and infrastructure, which
> includes investments in mass transit, alternative
> energy technology, and protection of America's
> critical infrastructure; and
> WHEREAS, President Bush and Republicans in
> Congress have saddled Americans with record gas
> prices, dependence on oil and an energy policy
> written by and for big oil;
> THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Democratic
> National Committee supports Democratic elected
> officials in Congress and in states and local
> communities across the country who are working
> toward energy independence, security and diversity
> as well as a safe, clean environment.

By Paul Kane  |  January 30, 2007; 11:34 AM ET
Categories:  Dem. Leaders  
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