Thursday morning, House Democrats voted 137-122 to make California Rep. Henry Waxman chair of the House Energy and Commerce committee, replacing longtime Chairman John Dingell of Michigan.
The vote wasn't just mundane political infighting -- it could have major implications on energy and environmental policies. Dingell represents a state that depends on the auto industry; if he were chair of the committee, he likely would have posed a major obstacle to the Obama administration's goals on both fronts.
As Salon's Andrew Leonard wrote in a post over at How the World Works on Wednesday, "Many activists consider Dingell to have been a steadfast opponent of tougher fuel economy standards. His 2007 proposal to tax carbon emissions was widely viewed as a sneaky political maneuver aimed at equating climate change action with big new taxes. Waxman, on the other hand, favors an aggressive approach to tackling climate change and other environmental issues."