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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President Obama became a surprise topic of contention toward the end of the Democratic debate, as Hillary Clinton reminded viewers that Sanders had challenged the progressive bona fides of President Obama in 2011 and suggested that someone might challenge him from the left. “The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama,” she said. “Madame Secretary, that is a low blow,” replied Sanders, before getting in another dig during his closing statement: “One of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.”
It’s all about the 1% and Wall Street versus everyone else for Bernie Sanders—even when he’s talking about race relations. Like Hillary Clinton, he needs to appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters in coming states, but he insists on doing so through his lens of class warfare. When he got a question from the moderators about the plight of black America, he noted that during the great recession, African Americans “lost half their wealth,” and “instead of tax breaks for billionaires,” a Sanders presidency would deliver jobs for kids. On the very next question, he downplayed the role of race in inequality, saying, “It’s a racial issue, but it’s also a general economic issue.”
It’s been said in just about every news story since New Hampshire: the primaries are headed to states where Hillary Clinton will do well among minority voters. Leaving nothing to chance, she underscored that point in her opening statement in the Milwaukee debate tonight, saying more needs to be done to help “African Americans who face discrimination in the job market” and immigrant families. She also made an explicit reference to “equal pay for women’s work.” Those boxes she’s checking are no coincidence: if she wins women, blacks and Hispanics, she wins the nomination.
Under pressure from a judge, the State Department will release about 550 of Hillary Clinton’s emails—“roughly 14 percent of the 3,700 remaining Clinton emails—on Saturday, in the middle of the Presidents Day holiday weekend.” All of the emails were supposed to have been released last month. Related: State subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last year, which brings the total number of current Clinton investigations to four, says the Daily Caller.