Chair Richard E. Neal (D-MA, 1) → Member Vernon G. “Vern” Buchanan (R-FL, 16)
Ranking Member Kevin P. Brady (R-TX, 8) is retiring, so the next Republican by rank (seniority) is Vern Buchanan.
All chair candidates:
If Vern Buchanan becomes committee chair, he would vacate his role leading the Subcommittee on Health, so that could be filled by Adrian Smith (R-NE, 3) who just won his ninth term.
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Buchanan’s Chief of Staff Sean Brady has only worked for members of Congress but has many connections with government affairs teams and associations.
Buchanan’s Legislative Director Aaron Bill has private sector connections from his past roles in Congress and law firms.
The current committee Staff Director Gary Andres has had a long and storied career, including time at law firms, corporations, associations, and the Bush Administration. He even wrote a book, Lobbying Reconsidered.
Update: Jason Smith (R-MO, 8) is now the Ways and Means chair
Smith is now the youngest chair in the committee’s history. In the previous Congress he was ranking member of the House Budget Committee.
He has strong private sector relationships from his time in Congress, membership in the NRA, and serving on the board of trustees for the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.