(CNN) - Mitt Romney's opposition to Buffett Rule may be "because he's exploiting all of these loopholes" in the tax code, Rep. Henry Waxman charged in a Democratic National Committee conference call on Thursday afternoon.
Waxman launched into Romney for a lack of transparency as Democrats have put the Republican presidential nominee under another wave of pressure to release tax and financial documents.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - BP chief Tony Hayward should be prepared to face tough questioning about the cause of the Gulf oil disaster when he appears before a key House committee this week, according to a letter released Monday by the committee's chairman.
The letter to Hayward from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-California, says a congressional investigation alleges that the besieged oil company took a low-cost, speedy approach to drilling the broken deepwater well responsible for the growing spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Our "investigation is raising serious questions about the decisions made by BP in the days and hours before the explosion" that created the spill, Waxman noted. "On April 15, five days before the explosion, BP's drilling engineer called (the facility in the Gulf) a 'nightmare well.' "
The letter - co-signed by Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak, D-Michigan - asserts that BP saved $10 million in part by skimping on a process to properly cement the well. It also asserts that BP ignored advice from Halliburton, its cementing subcontractor.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Democrats split sharply over the issue of health care reform Friday as negotiations between a committee chairman and party conservatives broke down.
A key leader of the party's conservative faction later warned the party leadership not to ram the current version of the health care bill through by circumventing the traditional legislative process.
The escalating tension within the ranks of House Democrats raised new questions about the bill's prospects.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman told reporters on Capitol Hill that he is willing to keep talking with members of the Blue Dog coalition - an influential group of fiscal conservatives - but also made clear he intends to move forward with the legislation.
Waxman, a California Democrat, indicated that he would bypass a committee vote if necessary and bring the bill directly to the House floor for a final vote.
"We're not going to let (the Blue Dogs) empower the Republicans. I don't see any other alternative," he said.
The top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce committee, Texas Rep. Joe Barton, has been threatening to force the committee clerk to read the 900-plus page bill as a way to drag out the markup of the Democrats' climate change legislation. Worried that this could jeopardize his goal of voting the bill out of committee before the Memorial Day break, Democratic Chairman Henry Waxman of California hired a speed reader, in case one was needed to publicly race through the massive bill.
Barton decided not to follow through on his threat - but he wanted to find out what a speed reader sounded like. He requested that one of the Republican amendments be read in full, and asked that the new hire take over for the full time committee clerk. Waxman obliged, and Douglas Wilder sat before the committee and began reading rapidly. He spoke so quickly it was impossible to decipher his words, as listeners began to laugh and applaud.
Barton decided he'd heard enough, and said he didn't need to finish. He then joked with Waxman, that since he went to all that trouble, "we should at least get the benefit of the gentleman's expertise." Smiling, Waxman asked Wilder to state his name and asked if he was available for hire. Wilder enthusiastically told the committee: "yes!"
WASHINGTON (CNN) – As Congress prepares for a weeklong recess next week, Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have armed themselves with a special weapon to deal with a possible Republican effort to delay getting a major piece of legislation out of committee by Memorial Day.
Democrats on the committee have hired a speed reader to read the more than 900-page climate change bill if necessary.
A request to have the entire bill read aloud is a prerogative Republicans have a right to invoke which could be used to frustrate Committee Chairman Henry Waxman's deadline of Memorial Day to get the committee's work on the bill done.
Even with the use of the speed reader, reading the entire bill could take the equivalent of more than a full work day of time.
–CNN Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - California Rep. Henry Waxman won the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Thursday, defeating the longtime chairman, John Dingell of Michigan, in a secret ballot vote of the incoming Democratic caucus.
Waxman - first elected to the House in 1974 - defeated Dingell - first elected in 1955 - by a vote of 137 to 122. Dingell has served as the Energy and Commerce Committee's top Democrat for the past 28 years. Waxman was the committee's No. 2 ranking Democrat.
"It was a contentious race, and it was a close one as well," Waxmam said immediately following the vote. "I want to point out... that this in no way diminishes the enormous contribution to our country by Chairman John Dingell." Waxman, a top ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, argued that "we needed a change for the committee to have the leadership that will work with this administration... in order to get important issues passed in health care, environmental protection and energy policy."
Regarding Dingell's long tenure in the House and on the committee, Waxman said, "seniority is important, but it should not be a grant of property rights to be chairman for three decades or more."