Energy And Commerce Battle Already Dividing Democratic Congress

12/15/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

When House Democrats return to Washington next week, they will have to choose between two of the party's most senior lawmakers.

The elder statesman is Michigan Representative John Dingell, 82, the longest-serving House member, with 52 years in office. The challenger is Henry Waxman of California, 69, who has been in Congress for 34 years and is vying to replace Dingell as chairman of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee.

The stakes are high because the panel has jurisdiction over energy, health care and telecommunications issues, central elements of President-elect Barack Obama's agenda.

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