WASHINGTON – Bonding over cars, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set aside her differences Wednesday with a key House committee chairman whom she bypassed to create a panel on global warming.
Touring the Washington Auto Show, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich., said he and Pelosi were "not here to talk about differences."
"We're good friends and we're working together to solve the problems and we will continue to do so," said Dingell, the House's longest-serving member and an auto industry stalwart.
Pelosi, D-Calif., announced plans last week to create a special committee to examine global warming and produce a bill by Independence Day. Existing committees that deal with energy, environment and technology would be asked to draft bills based on the global warming committee's recommendations.
Dingell, however, expressed disdain over the formation of the panel on the environmental issue, which has been under his committee's jurisdiction. He said last week that they were "just empowering a bunch of enthusiastic amateurs to go around and make speeches and make commitments that will be very difficult to honor."
The tough talk was replaced by smiles and an invitation to the auto show.
The lawmakers, who pulled into one of the car exhibits on a golf cart, got a close look at alternative vehicles built by Detroit's automakers: the Saturn Vue Greenline hybrid, made by General Motors Corp., a Ford Escape hybrid that operates on E85, an ethanol blend, and a Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel.
Pelosi said she was "honored by the invitation by the distinguished chairman to come to the auto show, and I'm enjoying it very much."
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, has indicated that he would urge Republicans to vote against creation of the committee, saying there was no need for it.