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Congressman Jason Smith, (R-MO)

Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri selected to lead House Ways and Means Committee

A congressman from Missouri will lead one of the most powerful committees in the new Congress. Republican Rep. Jason Smith has won the nomination to be chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

Smith, who represents the rural 8th Congressional District in southeast Missouri, is set up to gain a powerful gavel overseeing measures that affect federal revenue and spending, from the tax code and trade policy to Medicare and Social Security. Once the House Republican Conference formally ratifies the steering panel selection, Smith will become the youngest-ever chairman of Ways and Means.

In a statement after the vote, Smith called it “deeply humbling and an honor” to be selected.

“With our new House Republican majority, we have made a commitment to the American people to build a stronger economy that gives everyone — not just the wealthy and politically connected — greater opportunity to build a more prosperous future for themselves and their families,” he said.

The vote went to a second ballot after no candidate won majority support on the first ballot. Adrian Smith of Nebraska, with the least number of first-ballot votes, was eliminated, leaving Jason Smith and Vern Buchanan of Florida going head-to-head.

Numerous factors likely played into the sixth-term Republican prevailing, including placing himself alongside Buchanan among top fundraisers to help the GOP win the House in November and his involvement in negotiations last week that helped Kevin McCarthy secure the speaker’s gavel. Personal relationships, including with McCarthy, and his vision for the role were also likely among factors.

Smith was the top Republican on the Budget Committee last Congress and planned to seek that panel’s top slot again if he didn’t win Ways and Means. Smith has pledged aggressive oversight as Ways and Means chairman, including of the nearly $80 billion in IRS funding to boost tax enforcement that Democrats passed last year, leaks of taxpayer data and the Biden administration’s efforts to negotiate a 15 percent global minimum tax on companies’ earnings.

Smith will become just the second Ways and Means chairman to represent Missouri in Congress. The first was Rep. John S. Phelps, a Democrat who held the gavel in 1858-1859.

–Alan Goforth | MV

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