WASHINGTON, DC – Representative-elect Diane Black was chosen for membership of the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday, placing the first-term representative on what is widely considered to be the most powerful committee in Congress.
The Ways and Means Committee formulates the nation’s policies on taxes, trade, welfare, Medicare, Social Security and other major economic policies.
“It is a great honor to be appointed to this committee that debates the policies that can help jumpstart our economy and rein in federal spending,” Black said. “I look forward to making a strong stand for the kind of pro-growth policies we need to get Tennesseans back to work.”
First-term members are very rarely appointed to the committee, but Black lobbied hard for the post, arguing that Tennessee should be represented in the wake of Representative John Tanner’s retirement and that her experience on the Finance Committee as well as the General Welfare, Health and Human Services Committee in Tennessee’s State Senate had prepared her to do the job.
“Our new members bring a wealth of expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm to the Committee – all of which we will need to tackle the important issues facing the Committee and the nation, said Ways and Means Chairman-elect Dave Camp (R-MI). I am confident the talent and dedication each new member brings will be a great asset as we work to get our economy back on track to create jobs while reducing out-of-control federal spending.”
The last time the Volunteer State was without a member of the committee was 1923, during the Presidency of Warren Harding. Some of Tennessee’s most famous statesmen made their mark on the Ways and Means Committee before becoming national leaders, including Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Cordell Hull. Black is only the 24th Tennessean since statehood to be named to the committee – the oldest committee in the House. Eight presidents, eight Vice Presidents, 21 future Speakers of the House, and four Supreme Court Justices served on Ways and Means.
Thanks to Article 1, Section VII of the U.S. Constitution, the Ways and Means Committee is the driver behind all tax laws and Congresswoman-elect Black said she looks forward to leading the debate about tax relief. “Tennessee families and small businesses are paying too much in taxes already and I will be an advocate for relieving their burden so they have the resources to help expand this economy,” Black said.
Black’s appointment was approved by the Republican Steering Committee, comprised of the elected leaders of the Republican Conference, chairmen of all standing committees, and representatives of every region of the country and the freshman class.
Only two first term Republican members were appointed to the committee, Black and Representative-elect Rick Berg of North Dakota. No first-term members were appointed after the 2008 elections.