© Getty Images
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesPentagon watchdog finds NSA properly sidelined GOP operative hired as top lawyer News organizations, journalists ask court to review decision on Nunes lawsuit Sunday shows preview: Pelosi announces date for infrastructure vote; administration defends immigration policies MORE (R-Calif.) is considering a bid for the Ways and Means Committee gavel if current Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE (R-Wis.) is elected Speaker, The Hill has confirmed.
It would set up a three-way race to be chairman of the tax-writing committee, regarded as one of the most powerful and influential in the lower chamber.
Both Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), second in seniority to Ryan, and Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) are expected to run for the top post on Ways and Means if Ryan becomes Speaker.
"Excited for @RepPaulRyan to be Speaker and to be running for @WaysandMeansGOP Chairman," Tiberi tweeted Thursday night amid growing chatter about Nunes.
Politico first reported Nunes's interest in swapping gavels. If he is elected Ways and Means chairman, it would open up the top job on the Intelligence Committee, which is appointed by the Speaker.
But many things remain unclear. There's discussion about a shake-up on the powerful Steering Committee if Ryan succeeds outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). That panel, whose members are selected by the Speaker, decides committee chairs and assignments.
Nunes declined to discuss the possibility of a Ways and Means bid, but said he would not have any discussions with Ryan about chairmanships until the Speaker vote next week.
"I'm enjoying what I'm doing. It's serious work and a big obligation," Nunes said of his current job leading the Intelligence panel. "I'm not doing anything until we have a new Speaker."
Nunes, a close ally of both Boehner and Ryan, has been an outspoken critic of the House Freedom Caucus, deriding its conservative members as "right-wing Marxists" shortly before they forced Boehner to resign.
After Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) bowed out of the race to succeed Boehner, Nunes was one of the early voices calling on House Republicans to rally behind Ryan.
"Paul Ryan is the only eligible candidate” for Speaker, Nunes said earlier this month.
- Updated at 9:37 p.m.