Discuss as:

Out with the old?

From NBC's Mike Viqueira and Carrie Dann
In the waning hours of the 110th Congress, shakeups on both sides of the Capitol dome this morning marked defeats for two of the Hill's most long-serving members.

In the House, Rep. John Dingell, a member of Congress since 1955 who has served as the chairman or ranking member of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee for 28 years, was defeated for another term as chair by California Rep. Henry Waxman.  Waxman has himself served since 1975, ten fewer terms than Dingell, whose tenure in the House is the longest in the body's history.

On the other side of the rotunda, Sen. Ted Stevens, at 40 years the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, said goodbye on the Senate floor today.  Stevens was defeated in his reelection bid by Democrat Mark Begich, the mayor of Anchorage who was six years old when Stevens was first appointed to his Senate seat.

The Senate's oldest member, Robert Byrd, came into the chamber during Stevens' speech and later rose to deliver  --  with characteristic flourish -- eulogistic praise for his dear friend Stevens. He shouted "huzzahs" to punctuate the tributes of his colleagues they spoke in praise of their departing Alaska senator. Now in frail health, Byrd has recently stepped aside as chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations committee.

(It's also worth noting that today is not only a tough day for the Capitol's old guard, but for one state's Democratic delegation in particular. Michigan lawmakers saw not only the leadership defeat of Dingell, one of the anchors of the state's delegation, but also the apparent stalling of an emergency bailout plan for the Detroit-based auto industry.)