Ways and Means member believes Levin can hold chairmanship

A Democratic members of the Ways and Means Committee said Thursday that he believes newly-minted chairman Sander Levin (D-Mich.) has the political support to maintain the position.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said that Levin has the respect and support of the committee members, even though some have raised issues about his stance on trade policy.

ADVERTISEMENT
"I think he has a good deal of support, he told The Hill. "People trust Sandy and his believe he has integrity."

Levin was given the gavel on an interim basis after Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) declined to take it. Stark was tapped by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), his close ally, to helm the powerful taxation panel.

Under House rules, Stark became acting chairman after Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) vacated the post pending the findings of an ethics investigation. But Stark stepped aside Thursday morning, saying that he wanted to remain head of the health subcommittee.

But Yarmuth confirmed reports that many members of the committee refused to endorse Stark because of his penchant to make controversial remarks.

"There was concern about the fact that he would present a much easier target for people who are trying to raise issues with Congress," Yarmuth said. "Whoever is going to be in that position didn't need that kind of controversy."

But there has been some quiet grumbling that Levin's trade policy, which is not endorsed by the majority of the committee, could force some to oppose him.

"You're never going to find a perfect person for the job," Yarmuth said.

Jared Allen contributed to this post.