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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Rep. Dave Young can't even refuse his own paycheck. The Iowa Republican is trying to make a point that if Congress can't pass a budget (it's already missed the April 15 deadline) then it shouldn't be paid. But, he's been informed, the 27th Amendment prohibits him from refusing his own pay. "Young’s efforts to dock his own pay, however, are duck soup compared to his larger goal: docking the pay of every lawmaker when Congress drops the budget ball." His bill to stiff his colleagues has only mustered the support of three of them. Another bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), has about three dozen co-sponsors.
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Anyone looking forward to seeing some boldfaced names on the client list of the late Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the "DC Madam," will have to wait a little longer. "The Supreme Court announced Monday it would not intervene to allow" the release of her phone records, "despite one of her former attorneys claiming the records are “very relevant” to the presidential election. Though he has repeatedly threatened to release the records if courts do not modify a 2007 restraining order, Montgomery Blair Sibley tells U.S. News he’s not quite sure what he now will do."
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As unbound delegates pledged to Ted Cruz watch him "struggle to tread water in a primary increasingly dominated by Trump, many of them, wary of a bitter convention battle that could rend the party at its seams, are rethinking their commitment to the Texas senator."