The House Ways and Means Committee under a new chairman and Republican majority is pledging to put rural communities and GOP priorities like a fossil fuel inclusive energy platform in the spotlight, and several new additions to the committee could be significant voices in those efforts.
Chairman Jason Smith pledged to represent rural regions like his own Missouri district when he won the gavel last month, and he’s taking the committee’s business on the road to states like West Virginia, where the panel held its first hearing this week. An energy policy that includes fossil fuels like coal and oil was a prominent feature of that hearing.
In all, Republicans added 10 Ways and Means members this year, who now hold a significant presence among the 25 GOP lawmakers on the influential panel, which oversees all tax and trade policy and a significant swath of health care and human services programs.
Several represent rural farming areas or have districts with ties to the energy sector that are likely to influence their work, according to interviews with all 10 lawmakers.