The new energy bill that passed the Senate last week clearly demonstrates a shift that has been on going in the balance of power in Congress away from the traditional industrial states for at least the last two decades. Two of the longest serving members of the House and Senate are Democrats John Dingell and Carl Levin and, while still influential by virtue of their seniority, they certainly weren't able to wield that influence in the current debate over fuel economy regulations.
While both Michigan legislators put forth alternative proposals that were more palatable to their constituents in Dearborn, Auburn Hills and Detroit, those were rejected by their respective leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. While many activists think the Senate bill doesn't go nearly far enough, it is still the first bump in fuel economy rules in nearly thirty years and far more than was ever proposed under the previous Republican-controlled Congress. Dingell's proposal to prevent states from regulating greenhouse gases was also opposed by the Democratic leaders and was ultimately withdrawn. Clearly the times have changed and the old guard will be moving on before to much longer.
[Source: San Francisco Chronicle]