By Bernie Becker - 01/15/13 10:01 PM EST
Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.), the former top Democrat on the trade subcommittee, has shifted over to become ranking member of the Ways and Means health subcommittee. Former Rep. Pete Stark (Calif.) had been the ranking Democrat on the health panel, before losing his bid for another term last year.
Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), the chairman of the House Democratic caucus, remains the ranking member at the Social Security subcommittee, while Rep. Lloyd Doggett (Texas) will be top Democrat at the Human Resources panel.
Reps. John Lewis (Ga.) and Richard Neal (Mass.) will hold the ranking member slots at the Oversight and Select Revenue Measures subcommittees, respectively.
Rangel was censured by the full House after the Ethics Committee found him guilty of, among other things, failing to pay all his taxes and fundraising violations.
On the trade front, President Obama could try to finish off a TransPacific free trade deal this year, and free trade talks with the European Union could also be on the horizon.
That’s likely to spark a debate over fast-track trade promotion authority in Congress, and could give the trade subcommittee a larger role in the coming months.
Ways and Means also has jurisdiction over a range of the fiscal issues that have dominated discussion in Congress in recent years, including the debt ceiling, Medicare, the tax code and welfare programs.