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Tags: house | ways and means | committee | republicans

Republican Race Rattles Ways and Means Committee

Republican Race Rattles Ways and Means Committee
US Representative Jason Smith, Republican of Missouri. (Roberto Schmidt/POOL/AFP via Getty)

By    |   Friday, 05 August 2022 12:49 PM EDT

Although the primary season is not even over, Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee are already gearing up for a battle to become chairman – should their party win a majority in the House this November.

With Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, retiring from office, having served as chairman and Ranking Member for the maximum three terms permitted by House GOP rules, the race for the all-powerful position heading the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee is between three contenders: Republican Reps. Vern Buchanan of Florida, Adrian Smith of Nebraska and Jason Smith of Missouri.

To call it a "heated contest" is an understatement.

The Ways and Means Committee is the chief tax-writing committee of the United States House of Representatives.

A significant role of the committee is oversight — that is, being a watchdog on the execution of tax-writing and tax-collecting. Two of the contenders for the position, Smith of Nebraska and Smith of Missouri, strongly emphasized the need for oversight in separate interviews with Newsmax.

The Missourian voiced concern over the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the need for oversight. He brought up several concerns, including conservative organizations being targeted and an $80 billion expansion being looked at by the IRS (and strongly backed by the Biden Administration),

Nebraska’s Smith struck a similar chord and underscored the need for the Ways and Means Committee to investigate the IRS.

"We’ve learned from the past that these bad policies and certainly the president, the executive branch, need some oversight," said Rep. Adrian  Smith.

"So we have to be aggressive there and we have to be strategic about it as well and know where we want to end up with fixing the problems that exist, not just stating the problem, the obvious, but doing something about it."

Doing so will have some roadblocks, especially since Democrats possess the power of the executive branch of government for another two years and if Republicans win back the House.

"I hope that candidate Joe Biden reemerges – the one who wants to bring people together and hopefully pursue more moderate policies," said Adrian Smith.

The Nebraskan, who would prefer more right-of-center policies, went on to say that there has been severe damage done to the country during Biden’s tenure thus far.

In regard to IRS hearings, he was quick to say "absolutely."

Delivering results is a pivotal component of Smith’s plan. Whether it be oversight or dealing with the IRS, the congressman desired that something be done, if not everything he and fellow House Republicans want.

"We need to address that with an approach that delivers results [on some IRS reform," he said. 

Even down to the basis of customer service by the tax-collecting agency, the Cornhusker State lawmaker characterized it "a mess."

Simplicity is the key to success and fairness in the U.S. Tax Code, and both congressmen made clear they want more of it.

The Missourian emphasized how he is "open to looking at everything," in regards to simplifying the tax code even further.

"What if all the tax breaks went to zero," said Nebraksa’s Smith, "instead of picking the winners and losers, let's look at how we can not give a competitive edge because someone has a thirty percent tax credit versus a ten percent tax credit for the competing energy."

Florida’s Buchanan also voiced his views on the current economic climate, telling Newsmax: "The American people have had enough of record-high inflation, sinking wages and an economy that’s no longer working for them."

All told, the three Republicans vying for the gavel or (if Democrats keep the House) the ranking member slot on the Ways and Means Committee agree on most issues.  Other factors, however, will be decisive in determining the winner when the new GOP House members come to Washington.  

Raking in over $3.5 million this campaign cycle, Buchanan holds a significant lead over both Smiths in terms of having the resources to help other Republicans get elected to the House.

Jason Smith trails with just over $2.1 million dollars. Right behind him is Adrian Smith with a little over $1.2 million.

Explaining why he trails in fund-raising, the Missourian emphasized that he comes from one of the poorest congressional districts in the country, and that multi-millionaire car dealer Buchanan does not.

"And I come from a very poor working class family," said Jason Smith.

"Fundraising is a part of the mix, but it’s not the only part," said Adrian Smith.

Both Smiths touted their records and positions, arguing why they are best suited for the job.

"I am the only one who has, or is currently running, a standing committee," said Jason. Smith, who is the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee.

Smith, 42, cited his efforts on the House Budget Committee that helped lead the GOP response of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Missouri's Smith helped expose several questionable aspects of the bill, notably that "only 9 percent of the bill was spent to combat the virus via public health spending."

Hailing his rivals as "worthy," Nebraska’s Smith underscored that "we [the three contenders] are all pretty different in terms of our approach."

"As I get feedback from my colleagues, they tell me they appreciate my thoughtful approach to the issues and [...] pushing to get more conservative results," said Adrian Smith.

Florida’s Buchanan told us: "I am focused on winning back the House and stopping the Democrats’ dangerous tax-and-spending agenda. Congress can usher in a new era of American prosperity by focusing on pro-growth policies that prioritize American families and small businesses."

Assuming Republicans capture the House, committee chairmen will be determined in a closed-door meeting by the House Republican Steering Committee, which is made up of the party's leadership in the House and chaired by the House speaker, who with five votes on the committee plays the biggest role in the process.

Micah Hart, a Newsmax intern, is studying politics and journalism at Hillsdale College in Michigan.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Although the primary season is not even over, Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee are already gearing up for a battle to become chairman-should their party win a majority in the House in November.
house, ways and means, committee, republicans
Friday, 05 August 2022 12:49 PM
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