Dem added to Ways and Means Committee amid desire for more Hispanic members

Dem added to Ways and Means Committee amid desire for more Hispanic members
© Greg Nash

House Democrats' steering committee on Monday appointed Rep. Jimmy GomezJimmy GomezDem lawmakers call for FBI probe into Trump golf clubs' hiring of undocumented immigrants Trump will give State of Union to sea of opponents Dem lawmaker to bring former Trump property undocumented worker to State of the Union MORE (D-Calif.) to the House Ways and Means Committee, amid a desire by some for more Hispanic lawmakers on the powerful panel.

The announcement comes after House Democrats announced the appointment of 10 other Democrats to the Ways and Means Committee last week. The Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over issues including taxes, trade, health care and Social Security.

A spokesman for Rep. Linda SanchezLinda Teresa Sánchez Hispanic Dems announce task forces for 116th Congress Dem added to Ways and Means Committee amid desire for more Hispanic members House Dems worry about lack of women of color in leadership MORE (D-Calif.) told The Hill that without Gomez on the Ways and Means Committee, Sanchez would have been the only member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on the panel.

Sanchez and Rep. Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarLeft flexes muscle in immigration talks Immigration groups press for pairing Dreamer benefits with border security Lawmakers haggling over border dollars much lower than Trump's demand MORE (D-Calif.) told Politico that they thought there was a need for more Hispanic and Southern California lawmakers on Ways and Means. 

But a senior Democratic aide told Politico that the addition of Gomez, and expansion of the number of Democratic members of the committee, was prompted by a desire by Republicans to increase the number of seats that GOP members would get. 

Gomez, a former California state lawmaker, was first elected to Congress in 2017, winning a special election after former Rep. Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraCalifornia to sue Trump over border wall emergency declaration Overnight Energy: Court rules for Trump in environmental case over border wall | House bill would stop Alaska refuge drilling | Ads target Dems over Green New Deal Appeals court sides with Trump in border wall prototype dispute MORE (D-Calif.) left Congress to become California's attorney general. Becerra had been a member of Ways and Means.

Gomez said in a statement that he is looking forward "to working with Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealHigh stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Powerful House committee turns to drug pricing | Utah governor defies voters on Medicaid expansion | Dems want answers on controversial new opioid The Memo: Smaller tax refunds hold dangers for Trump, GOP MORE [D-Mass.] in using every tool at our disposal to protect the most vulnerable communities in my district and across the nation.”