House Dems buck Pelosi, pick Pallone for committee post

by Sean Lengell  |  published on November 20, 2014

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In a nod to seniority and a blow to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Democrats on Wednesday elected Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. as the party’s new top member of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Pelosi campaigned vigorously for her close friend and fellow Californian, Rep. Anna Eshoo, to succeed retiring Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., as the ranking Democrat on the committee. Eshoo won the initial backing of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on Tuesday night.

But in a rare move, the full House Democratic Caucus went against the steering committee’s wishes and voted 100 to 90 to elect Pallone, who has served New Jersey in the House since 1993 — a result perceived by some as a rejection of leadership by the caucus’ rank-and-file members.

Pallone, who has more seniority on the committee than Eshoo, dismissed talk that the vote was a referendum on Pelosi’s leadership.

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