Four Republicans land coveted Ways and Means slots

Four new House Republicans are joining the powerful Ways and Means Committee, a GOP aide said Friday.

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The four GOP lawmakers — Reps. George Holding (N.C.), Pat Meehan (Pa.), Kristi Noem (S.D.) and Jason Smith (Mo.) — are all relative newcomers to Capitol Hill, with all having just been elected to their third term or less.

They’ll now join a highly coveted committee, with jurisdiction over the U.S. tax system, entitlement programs, trade and anti-poverty initiatives, that has proven to be a boon to lawmakers’ fundraising.

The four Republican additions to the Ways and Means panel will give the GOP 24 members on the committee next year, up from 23 in the current Congress. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Reps. Jim GerlachJames (Jim) GerlachThe business case for employer to employee engagement 2018 midterms: The blue wave or a red dawn? Pa. GOP 'disappointed' by rep retiring after filing deadline MORE (R-Pa.) and Tim GriffinJohn (Tim) Timothy GriffinFlynn discloses lobbying that may have helped Turkey Tea Party class reassesses record Huckabee's daughter to run '16 campaign MORE (R-Ark.) all declined to seek reelection this year, opening up their committee slots.

Only one Democratic member of the committee — Rep. Allyson Schwartz (Pa.), who unsuccessfully ran for governor this year — will leave Congress at the end of the year.

A Democratic aide said negotiations were ongoing over whether Democrats would get to replace Schwartz on the committee, or if their membership would fall from 16 to 15. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, would be next in line to join the committee. In his role at the Budget panel, Van Hollen has been a frequent sparring partner with the incoming Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanKenosha will be a good bellwether in 2020 At indoor rally, Pence says election runs through Wisconsin Juan Williams: Breaking down the debates MORE (R-Wis.).

Meehan’s elevation to the tax-writing panel ensures that the Philadelphia area will be represented on the committee next year, following the departure of Gerlach and Schwartz.

In a statement, Meehan, first elected in 2010, vowed to hold the IRS accountable following the agency’s recent Tea Party controversy, and to work on overhauling the tax code and strengthening Medicare and Social Security.

Noem was also first elected in 2010 and was one of two freshmen to get a leadership slot, when that vast GOP class arrived in Washington.

Holding, a former U.S. attorney nominated by former President George W. Bush, was first elected in 2012. Smith, a former Missouri state lawmaker, won a special election in 2013 to replace former Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.).