A second-term lawmaker on the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., is working to position himself as a leader on trade and tax reform. So how does a 30-year-old, Men's Health cover boy best known for his six-pack abs make a mark in a world where graybeards rule and seniority is king? Schock sat down with National Journal to explain. Edited excerpts of the interview follow. ...NJ: Among committee Republicans, you rank in the bottom third in seniority. Why should people care what you think?SCHOCK: I just got on! I'm in the top of the bottom third. First of all, we are all given an equal vote and equal amount of time, and what you do with that time determines how effective you are on the committee. So, while I may not be the most senior member, I still think I can use my time and position to affect the outcome of tax reform. Between scandals, retirements, and appointments, I've moved up pretty quick. And now, with a couple more retirements announced, I'm going to move up at least a couple more seats. Time is everything out here, along with seniority. I might even make it to the second row one day.NJ: What's your message to K Street on tax reform?SCHOCK: Buckle up.NJ: Why?SCHOCK: Because there are no sacred cows, and while my office has been filled with people lobbying for their credit, deduction, and special provision, I firmly believe all Americans will be better off with a simpler, more fair tax code. Before it'sall done, it will be a wild ride.NJ: Can I see your abs?SCHOCK: You need to go buy a magazine.NJ: More seriously, how important have your abs been to your agenda?SCHOCK: They have not been important to my agenda at all. Obviously, exercise is an important part of my life, and I think taking care of yourself is an important part of every individual's health care. I've tried to use the attention that I've been given on that issue in a constructive manner, and I think what we did in partnership with Men's Health and the Today show was successful in that end. We had 40,000 people sign up for a fitness challenge, 10,000 people submit before-and-after photos--the most successful fitness challenge that Men's Health or the Today show have ever done. And if a few thousand people end up changing their life forever, it will have been, I think, a worthy endeavor.NJ: What grade would you give House Speaker John Boehner?SCHOCK: Oof, you're asking me to grade the speaker, huh? I would say B+. With aRepublican president, he'd be an A.
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