Rep. Sander Levin (Mich.) secured the top slot on the Ways and Means Committee on Thursday morning, bucking the recommendation of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee to install Rep. Richard Neal (Mass.) as ranking member.
The Democratic Caucus, which needs to approve all of the Steering panel’s committee recommendations, chose Levin on a 109-78 vote during a closed-door meeting Thursday, according to Democratic sources.
The Steering panel chose to put Neal in the slot Wednesday night, voting 23-22 for the Massachusetts Democrat.
Levin and Neal have been locked in an intense fight for the position for the past several months. Levin has been serving as chairman since embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) stepped aside amid a series of ethics charges.
Neal, who is sixth in seniority on the committee, campaigned hard for the job, lobbying Members and increasing his campaign contributions to fellow Democrats and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Still, Levin is seen as more ideologically in line with the more liberal factions of the Democratic Caucus, the party’s largest bloc.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.