HILL TAX BRIEFING: GOP Jockeys for Ways and Means Subcommittees

January 11, 2023 | By Alex Clearfield

Now that Republicans have named Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) as the next chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the scramble is on to chair subcommittees and begin oversight.

The party will pick the committee’s GOP members as early as Wednesday.

Ways and Means Republicans select subcommittee chairs using the “Martin rule,” which allows senior committee members to pick preferred subcommittee gavels in a process that better resembles dominoes than a typical race.

The order of seniority starts with Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), followed by Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), and Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio).

Buchanan, who lost the chair race to Jason Smith, plans to stay on as chairman of the Health panel, according to a source familiar with the talks. LaHood is in the mix to chair the subcommittees on Worker and Family Support, Oversight, or Social Security, according to another source familiar with LaHood’s conversations.

Adrian Smith will have first pick if he wants to stay on the Trade subcommittee, where he was the ranking member last year, or move to another, as will Schweikert for Social Security. Kelly said he’d likely either continue as chairman of the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, which handles tax policy, or shift to Oversight.

On Oversight, expect the committee to more openly target the business community—Smith’s willingness to do that is one of the ways he separated himself from Buchanan.

“I think this will be the most high profile the Oversight subcommittee has been in a decade,” said Sage Eastman, a senior GOP strategist at lobbying firm Mehlman Consulting.

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