Waxman stays in wings

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Washington

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has no immediate plans to challenge Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) for the chairmanship of the House Commerce Committee if the Democrats regain control of the House. That's according to Phil Schiliro, Waxman's chief of staff.

"Congressman Waxman has one focus: regaining the House majority," Schiliro said.

When Dingell's staff director, Reid Stuntz, was asked the question, he laughingly replied, "I'm assuming this rumor is coming from Republicans, because the idea of having Henry Waxman as chairman of the Commerce Committee scares businesses and encourages them to give money to Republicans."

Ultimately, the Speaker of the House selects committee heads and House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt has said Dingell has the edge.

But lobbyists have been monitoring the health of 73-year-old Dingell, who has had heart problems and foot surgery.

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