WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT) will be in good company when the powerful tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee begins its deliberations over the upcoming debt-ceiling crisis.
Moore is among 10 new GOP members on that panel, many of them representing geographically diverse parts of the country and viewpoints that don’t necessarily jibe with mainstream Republican politics.
Several of the new members on Ways and Means also hail from rural farming areas or have districts with ties to the energy sector that are likely to influence their opinions.
As part of a general restructuring of that committee by chairman Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), Moore was appointed to Ways and Means based on his reputation as something of rare pragmatist amidst ideologues in the previous 117th Congress.
Moore’s appointment was notable as being the first representative from the Intermountain West to join the Ways and Means Committee.
In welcoming Moore to the committee, Smith praised him as “ … a fighter for fiscal sanity and common sense.”
The new chairman added that he expects Moore to display the same “dogged determination” to help build a strong economy that will “support working families, lower taxes and promote investment in America.”
Moore will be working with other newcomers to the committee, including representatives Mike Carey (R-OH), Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Randy Feenstra (R-IW), Michelle Fischbach (R-MN), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Greg Steube (R-FL), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) and Michelle Steel (R-CA).
Representing mining interests, Carey is a former coal industry lobbyist and executive.
His priorities are a national energy policy that includes renewables, nuclear power and fossil fuels to make American energy independent again.
From the top energy producing state of Texas, Van Duyne hails from a business-rich district north of Dallas.
Van Duyne said she will push for more crude oil exports and to abolish fees on methane emissions from oil and gas facilities that was part of Democrats’ 2022 budget package.
Also concerned about energy policy will be Tenney, who represents a district that includes New York’s last three nuclear power plants along the shores of Lake Ontario.
Tenney believes that New York is pushing too quickly to meet climate change goals without planning to meet future baseload power needs.
Two new Ways and Means members representing rural, agricultural districts are Iowa’s Randy Feenstra and Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota.
Both have discussed a desire to new open export markets and limit taxes on agriculture and inherited farms.
Fitzpatrick, a Republican from the suburbs of Philadelphia, is co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.
Unlike Moore in the previous Congress, he has crossed the aisle on occasion to support controversial major legislation. Fitzpatrick was also involved in the negotiations earlier this year that led to Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) being named speaker of the House.
Fitzpatrick said he plans to leverage his bipartisan reputation in discussions on raising the national debt limit.
At the other end of the spectrum is Steube, a Republican from Sarasota, Fl, who supports replacing the current U.S. tax code with a national sales tax.
Although that controversial idea has isolated Steube from many GOP colleagues, his stand has won support from the deep-pockets of the Club for Growth and other right-leaning political action committees.
Representing Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, Malliotakis is a party loyalist, but breaks with the GOP mainstream on issues relating to state and local tax deductions.
Malliotakis has also cited her interest in trade to boost domestic supply chains, grow U.S. jobs and secure energy and pharmaceutical supply chains.
Finally, the last new addition to the Ways and Means Committee is Steel, an immigrant from Korea as a teenager.
As the daughter of a small business owner, Steel said her focus will be on business tax policy and trade issues.
Prior to joining Ways and Means, Steel was among leaders on Republican messaging bills that aim to undo some of Democrats’ policies from the last two years, including one Republicans passed to claw back most of Democrats’ $80 billion in IRS funding.
The House Ways and Means Committee is oldest and most prestigious committee in Congress. Its members have jurisdiction over tax and trade policy, Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement programs.
With an epic budget battle looming in Congress this year over the government’s statutory debt ceiling, that committee’s decisions regarding both discretionary and mandatory speeding will be critical in determining the future course of the federal budget.