House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sandy Levin announced he won’t seek another term as ranking member of the powerful tax-writing committee Tuesday.
Levin, who has served as the top Democrat on the panel since 2010, cited two reasons for his decision to step aside.
“First, it is imperative that we support younger Members as they seek to fully assume the mantle of leadership in the four years ahead, as we also continue to tap the experience of those who have led so many of these battles,” he said in a statement. “Second, I want to be free to focus in addition to tax reform on two of my legislative passions: health care and trade.”
Levin said he feels it’s his responsibility “to stop President Trump and Speaker Ryan as they seek to take this country in a very different direction,” and help preserve Obamacare and prevent block grants and voucher programs for Medicare and Medicaid.
Taking a swing at the president-elect, Levin said the election has motivated him even further to advance Democratic policies.
“My determination to fight harder than ever in the next months has only deepened with the news that the creator of the media platform for the dangerous alternative right movement which promotes conspiracy theories and white nationalism will take a seat in the White House advising the next U.S. President,” he continued.
While Levin voiced his negative views on Trump, his colleagues on the right praised his efforts to work across the aisle on a number of issues during his time as ranking member.
“He’s always been very thoughtful and has always tried to find a way to work together if he could do so,” Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “He has a great legacy as an outspoken ranking member on Ways and Means Committee and I’m just grateful for his service.”
California Democrat Rep. Xavier Becerra announced plans to seek the position as he is about to be termed out of his position as Democratic caucus chair.
“Over the years, I have prepared for just such an assignment,” he said in a dear colleague letter Tuesday evening. “I served on the House Budget Committee when Paul Ryan was Chairman. I represented our Caucus on the 2010 National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (the “Bowles-Simpson Commission”) and the 2011 Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the misnomered “Supercommittee”). For four years, I have had the privilege to chair the House Democratic Caucus.”
Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Richard Neal also announced he is throwing his hat in the ring in a dear colleague letter Tuesday, touting his accomplishments during his time on the panel.
“I continue to take the same approach by working with my colleagues in the House on issues that have a tangible impact on middle class families across America, he wrote. “I have developed a strong relationship with many of you during my tenure in Congress, and I have served as a mentor to many of our younger colleagues. As you all know, I have the energy, leadership skills and tenure to lead the Ways and Means Committee into the future.”
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