Heard on the Hill

On Ways and Means Staff, Women Reign

Chairman Brady looked up and realized mostly women were at the table

House Ways and Means Committee staffers including Emily Murry, far right, conduct a meeting with panel chair Kevin Brady in the Capitol. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, was given a tough task when he took on the role of House Ways and Means Committee chairman: creating his team.  

“We set out to hire the most talented and qualified Ways and Means team heading into what could be a historic time for the committee,” Brady said. “[Speaker Paul D. Ryan] brought terrifically talented folks to the committee and took with him to the speaker's office, terrifically talented people. And that allowed us the opportunity to put a first rate Ways and Means team together.”  

Brady hired David Stewart, former policy director for John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and they both took on the task of recruiting. “At the end of the process, we looked up and realized that we had hired an awfully strong team, most of them women,” Brady said.  

Lori Harju is the senior adviser for the committee and Brady’s chief of staff. Allison Halataei is the general counsel, Emily Schillinger is also from Boehner’s office and serves as communications director, and Barbara Angus is the chief tax counsel.  

On top of that, five out of six subcommittee staff directors are women. Amy Shuart takes the lead on the social security, Anne DeCesaro on human resources, Emily Murry on health, Machalagh Carr on oversight and Angela Ellard on chief trade counsel.  

“So it was not by design, other than meeting the charge of the most talented and qualified," Brady said. “Collectively, they have decades of experience both on Capitol Hill and in private practice, as well, and I’m thrilled with the team that we’ve put together."  

“I think [women] bring to the table both valuable work experience but also a perspective of how we make the lives of families better by having modern 21st century solutions to a lot of these challenges,” the chairman said. “That’s perspective, I think it’s reflective in the work product that they’re bringing forward.”  

Plus, the staff has a collaborative spirit, he said.  

“The team works together beautifully, this is all predicated on ‘Let’s get the job done’ and they do. We’ve got a very aggressive challenge from the speaker on producing,” he said.

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