Who Will Next Wield the Gavel on Ways and Means?

Rep. Paul Ryan on December 1, 2010.
National Journal
Stacy Kaper
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Stacy Kaper
Oct. 23, 2013, 4:35 p.m.

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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