Updated 5:43 p.m. | Kevin Brady was chosen to replace Paul D. Ryan as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Republicans quickly congratulated the Texas Republican for his selection by the Republican Steering Committee to head the powerful tax-writing panel. The choice must still be ratified by the full Republican Conference in a vote scheduled for Thursday morning, but that is expected to be a formality. Ryan spoke in Brady's favor, saying “he felt Kevin was the guy,” Rep. Lynn Westmoreland told reporters. “And I’m sure that carried a lot of weight.”
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Brady, who briefly challenged Ryan in last year's Ways and Means race, is the seventh committee chairman from Texas. The 36-member Texas delegation includes 25 Republicans. He prevailed over Rep. Pat Tiberi of Ohio, who was a strong ally of former Speaker John A. Boehner.
After making his pitch to the Steering Committee, Brady told reporters he didn't think his Texas roots would work against him.
"We're not the party of quotas. We're the party of merit," he said. "We put the best players on the field every time. And so I'm confident they'll judge me on my leadership, my expertise, ability to hit the ground running on day one."
Both candidates touted their policy chops as they campaigned for the gavel. Brady, as chairman of the panel's health subcommittee, talked about passing legislation ending the so-called doc fix problem. Tiberi, the trade subcommittee chairman, cited his role in ushering Trade Promotion Authority through Congress.
Brady is the second most senior Republican on Ways and Means, behind fellow Texas Republican Sam Johnson, who served as the panel's interim chairman but did not seek the post permanently. Tiberi ranks fourth in seniority, behind California Republican Devin Nunes, whom Ryan asked to stay out of the race so he could continue serving as Intelligence Committee chairman.
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