By Bernie Becker - 01/15/13 04:43 PM EST
Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the full Ways and Means chairman, said the new subcommittee chairmen would help Washington make progress in those key areas.
“Achieving that goal includes making the tax code simpler and fairer; aggressively pursuing new opportunities in the global marketplace while holding our trading partners accountable; and protecting, preserving and prolonging the life of our entitlement programs while reducing their costs to hardworking taxpayers.”
Ways and Means and other standing committees have played something of a secondary role in fiscal debates in recent years, with negotiations largely occurring between President Obama’s administration and congressional leaders.
But Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said that he wants the House to return to “regular order” this Congress, which could give Ways and Means a more public role in any negotiations.
Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed interest in reforming the tax code, though the two sides remain at odds over whether revenue increases should be used to eat into deficits.
GOP lawmakers also are continuing to push to revamp entitlement programs, after making Medicare reform a key plank in the two most recent House budgets.
On the trade side, the administration could try to have a TransPacific free-trade deal ready to be signed by this fall’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings, and is also contemplating launching free trade talks with the European Union.
Both initiatives make a fight over fast-track trade promotion authority likely in the Congress, giving Nunes a role in the biggest trade debate since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
Reps. Wally Herger (R-Calif.), the previous Health subcommittee chairman at Ways and Means, and Geoff Davis (R-Ky.), who headed up Human Resources last Congress, both declined to seek reelection in 2012.
Ways and Means Democrats are expected to announce the committee’s ranking members later this week.