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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In town to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center, Bill Murray casually strolled into the White House Briefing Room this afternoon. A spokesman said he was at the executive mansion for a chat with President Obama, his fellow Chicagoan.
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The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the nonprofit that published the Panama Papers earlier this year, is being spun off from its parent organization, the Center for Public Integrity. According to a statement, "CPI’s Board of Directors has decided that enabling the ICIJ to chart its own course will help both journalistic teams build on the massive impact they have had as one organization."