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Committee Chairs to Flesh Out Details of House Agenda

From left, McCarthy, Chaffetz and Ryan walk to the House floor Wednesday for votes. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

All 20 chairmen of the standing legislative House committees will play lead roles in developing the 2016 GOP policy agenda,  as House leaders Thursday announced details of six new task forces.  

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced membership of the task forces that will focus on national security, a tax code rewrite, a health care overhaul, poverty and welfare, regulations, and constitutional authority. "While the task forces will focus on different issues, their mission is one in the same, which is to be bold," Ryan said.  

"These task forces will be led bottom up," McCarthy said, noting that while the committee chairmen will take the lead, "every single member of our conference has a voice."  

White House spokesman Josh Earnest wasted no time taking a shot at the GOP, saying, "If you're not going to be focused on passing legislation that can be signed by a Democratic president, you have to do something to stay busy."  

The task forces will begin their work by scheduling listening sessions with members. The goal is for them to produce their ideas sometime this spring, in advance of the selection of a Republican presidential nominee. House leaders have said they expect whoever the nominee, the candidate will want to embrace the House's agenda.  

Ryan announced that five-point 2016 agenda after a GOP retreat last month, saying that House Republicans would build ideas that would show voters in the upcoming elections what the GOP could accomplish if a Republican were elected to the White House. The six task forces pick up the themes of Ryan's five-point agenda, but add a separate panel to look for ways to change the regulatory system, something the speaker had previous grouped with restoring the constitution and checking the power of the executive branch.  

The membership of the task forces is as follows:  

National Security: Administration Committee Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich. Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif. Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif. Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla.  

Tax Reform: Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas  

Health Care Reform Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga. Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. Brady  

Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas Price Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn. Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas Brady  

Reducing Regulatory Burdens: Conaway Upton Hensarling Goodlatte Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Teaxs Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot, R-Ohio Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa.  

Restoring Constitutional Authority: Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky. Goodlatte Bishop Chaffetz Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas  

John Bennett contributed to this report. Contact McPherson at lindseymcpherson@rollcall.com and follow her on Twitter at @lindsemcpherson