Representative Jason Smith of Missouri on January 9 beat out fellow Republicans Florida Representative Vern Buchanan and Nebraska Representative Adrian Smith to win the Ways and Means Committee Chairmanship. Buchanan had the endorsement of Louisiana Republican and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and J. Smith was reportedly the pick of California Republican and newly elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Smith immediately laid out his priorities for the Comittee this session. “Our first step is defunding the $80 billion pay increase Democrats gave the IRS to hire 87,000 new agents to target working families,” he said. “But we are not stopping there. If confirmed, the new IRS Commissioner should plan to spend a lot of time before our committee answering questions about the leaking of sensitive taxpayer information and an agency with a history of targeting conservative Americans.”
The Missouri Republican defeated Buchanan on the second ballot of the House Republican Steering Committee after Rep. Smith of Missouri dropped out following the first. Buchanan congratulated Smith in a statement and said he wished him well. But he bemoaned that Florida would continue without a chair in the House because of his defeat. “This is a big loss for Florida which hasn’t had a committee chairman in five years despite being the fastest growing state with the second largest Republican delegation in the House,” Buchanan said. “Florida deserves a seat at the leadership table.”
Outgoing Democratic Chairman Richard Neal, Democrat of Massachusetts, praised Smith for working with him during his term on the Ways and Means Committee. “Leading the Ways and Means Committee is an awesome responsibility, and I congratulate Jason on his selection as the new Chairman,” said Neal in a statement. “We have worked together for years on some of the most consequential issues, and I look forward to continuing the Committee’s tradition of rising above politics to do what’s best for the American people.”
Smith has pledged in the past to make permanent expiring tax provisions in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (PL 115-97) if he were to lead the committee. That includes extending current individual tax rates and the pass-through deduction. “The relief that we gave in 2017, we need that to be permanent,” Smith said in a recent interview. “Certainty in the tax code is important.”
Smith was elected in 2013 to represent Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District in the House of Representatives. In the 117th Congress, Smith served as the Republican Leader of the Budget Committee and was a member of the Ways and Means Committee.
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