Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s term atop the panel expires at the end of this Congress, raising questions as to who will be the next leader.
There is little expectation that Camp will seek a waiver from House leadership to stay beyond the Republican term limits, leaving Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as the odds-on favorite to succeed Camp.
“The bottom line is that our former vice presidential nominee is there, and he can pretty much do what he wants,” said committee member Devin Nunes, R-Calif.
Conventional wisdom says that Ryan wins the gavel if he wants it. The position serves as a platform to push high-profile policy initiatives, which could come in handy, even if he later runs for president.
But Ryan might instead pursue a post in leadership, such as the speakership, which would open the field at Ways and Means. Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee chairman, is a candidate, as is Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, who leads the Health Subcommittee and recently led the Trade Subcommittee. Nunes, who heads the Trade Subcommittee now, is also in the mix.
On the Democratic side, the picture is less clear. Ranking member Sander Levin, D-Mich., is running for reelection at 82, but it is unclear how much longer he will stay in Congress. Once Levin leaves, many see Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts as the next top Democrat in waiting. He challenged Levin for the ranking-member position in 2010 and came up one vote ahead of him in the party’s Steering and Policy Committee (although one member was missing). Levin won when the vote was put to the caucus.
Another contender is Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the highly regarded civil-rights leader who has more seniority than Neal.
Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., is the most senior Democrat on the panel after Levin and Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and he says his turn is coming. When asked who will be the next top Democrat, he said, “You mean me?” When asked if he thinks it really will be him, he said, “Of course.”
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."