Ryan Seeks Powerful House Ways and Means Committee Chair

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 07:17 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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Rep. Paul Ryan, who won kudos for his work on the recent bipartisan budget deal, intends to become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee when the next Congress convenes in 2015, handing him a high-profile seat to push conservative policy ideas, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Ryan (R-Wis.) said he plans to help the current chairman, Dave Camp (R-Mich.) try to push a broad tax overhaul through Congress next year, an ambitious pursuit with plenty of political hurdles, the Journal said.

"We will make the case to the country that lower tax rates across the country for families and businesses are the key" to growth and jobs, the House Budget Committee Chairman told the paper on Tuesday.

While many Democrats will attack GOP efforts to cut tax rates as a benefit to the wealthy, as they successfully did in the last presidential campaign, Ryan said he expects Republicans to win the debate this time. "Do we want class warfare or growth? I think we want growth," he said.

This is the first time Ryan has publicly acknowledged he intends to seek the coveted chair.

Ryan said he aims to succeed Camp, who will be forced to step down as chair after 2014 under the Republicans' self-imposed term limits. "That is my plan," said Ryan. He predicted the next Ways and Means chairman likely will have to focus on the hotly-debated issues of revamping entitlement programs and replace Obamacare.

Ryan, who ran as the GOP vice-presidential candidate in 2012, is often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2016 and also as a future speaker of the House.

Ryan worked out the recent bipartisan budget deal with Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash). The agreement helped elevate his standing, despite the criticism he received from tea party leaders and conservatives for modifying short-term spending caps.

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