Waxman, Dingell Duel for TV, Media Power

Nov 6, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Tuesday’s Democratic win is kicking off a battle among two leaders of the House of Representatives for a top committee post, a fight with potentially large implications for the television advertising market.
U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has announced he intends to challenge U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., for chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Mr. Dingell is the dean of the House and its longest-serving member, having been in office since 1955. His energy and commerce committee has jurisdiction over media matters involving television.
As chair of the oversight committee, Mr. Waxman has been a thorn in the side of the Bush administration the past two years, regularly holding hearings questioning administration policies and procedures. If he succeeds in ousting Mr. Dingell on the Energy committee in a Democratic administration, Mr. Waxman would have a far greater role in determining congressional action and writing legislation in the health and media areas.
While both Mr. Dingell and Mr. Waxman have questioned direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug advertising, it is Mr. Waxman who has been the most proactive in trying to limit it.
He offered legislation two years ago to impose a moratorium of several years on advertising for any new drug and he’s also called for limits on advertising of tobacco products. Advertising industry groups claim that push would violate the First Amendment.
“If Rep. Waxman does become chair, we have to be prepared for immediate scrutiny on FDA matters,” said Adonis Hoffman, general counsel of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. “DTC becomes front and center.”
(Editor: Baumann)


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