Michigan could be winner in Ways & Means chairmanship shift

Michigan could be the real winner of the Ways and Means game of musical chairs being played by Democrats.

With Rep. Sandy Levin (D) as the panel’s new chairman, Michigan now boasts the senior Republican and Democrat on one of the most powerful committee’s in Congress. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) is the panel’s ranking Republican.

That means that no matter who holds the majority of Congress next year, there’s a fair chance Michigan will be home to the Ways and Means chairman.

Camp congratulated Levin in a statement: “Sandy and I have had a long and good working relationship, especially when it comes to the Research and Development Tax Credit, and I expect that to continue.”

Levin’s rise is  good news for the state with the nation’s highest unemployment rate. It’s even better news for key constituencies, including U.S. automakers and auto workers.

Levin's younger brother, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also welcomed his sibling's move as a boon for the Great Lakes state.

“This is also a big day for Michigan," he said. "We know all too well how important it is to promote job creation and help the millions who have been hurt by this economic crisis. In his new role, Sandy will be well-positioned to pursue policies that can create jobs and bring opportunity to our families.”

Levin is only acting chairman of the committee. He takes over from Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), who is taking a temporary leave of absence until the House ethics panel completes investigating him.

But many believe it will be difficult for Rangel to ever reach the pinnacle of the committee again.

If Democrats retain their majority this fall, it’s also possible another member could challenge Levin for the chairmanship in the next Congress. Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) long has been seen as a likely chairman of the committee.

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