Rep. Davis Nominated for seat on House Way and Means Committee

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December 12, 2008
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Rep. Danny K. Davis Nominated for seat on House Ways and Means Committee

CongressmanDanny K. Davis (D-IL07) announced today that he has been nominated formembership on  the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House ofRepresentatives..  This is a very selective committee of twenty-sixMajority members and fifteen Minority members. 
Rep. Danny K. Davis Nominated for seat on House Ways and Means Committee

CongressmanDanny K. Davis (D-IL07) announced today that he has been nominated formembership on  the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House ofRepresentatives..  This is a very selective committee of twenty-sixMajority members and fifteen Minority members.  An outline of theCommittee jurisdiction is appended below.

Statement of Congressman Davis:

"I am honored andappreciative of the support of my colleagues in the Congress for theirnomination to the Committee on Ways and Means.  I want to particularlythank Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Members of the Democratic Steering andPolicy Committee, Chairman Charles Rangel and Representatives JanSchakowsky and Jerry Costello for their support and the confidence andtrust they have offered."

"The jurisdiction of the Committee includes a number of issueswhich have long been at the center of my interests and I look forwardto focusing with special attention on the issue of  health care fromboth the community and national perspective.  I am hopeful that thenext years will see significant advancements in our nation's healthcare system and in the health and well being of our people."
 
"Ihave requested a waiver to remain as Chairman of the Subcommittee onthe Federal Workforce, Postal Service and District of Columbia of theCommittee on Oversight and Government Reform.  I have deeplyappreciated the opportunity to serve in that capacity and look forwardto the possibility of continuing in that role."

The following summary from the Committee website provides a description of the jurisdiction of the Committee:

(1)Federal revenue measures generally.--The Committee on Ways and Meanshas the responsibility for raising the revenue required to finance theFederal Government.  This includes individual and corporate incometaxes, excise taxes, estate taxes, gift taxes, and other miscellaneoustaxes.

(2) The bonded debt of the United States.--The Committee on Waysand Means has jurisdiction over the authority of the Federal Governmentto borrow money.  Title 31 of Chapter 31 of the U.S. Code authorizesthe Secretary of the Treasury to conduct any necessary public borrowingsubject to a maximum limit on the amount of borrowing outstanding atany one time.  This statutory limit on the amount of public debt ("thedebt ceiling") currently is $8.18 trillion.  The Committee'sjurisdiction also includes conditions under which the U.S. Departmentof the Treasury manages the Federal debt, such as restrictions on theconditions under which certain debt instruments are sold.

(3) National Social Security programs.--The Committee on Ways andMeans has jurisdiction over most of the programs authorized by theSocial Security Act, which includes not only those programs that arenormally referred to colloquially as "Social Security" but also socialinsurance programs and a whole series of grant-in-aid programs to Stategovernments for a variety of purposes.  The Social Security Act, asamended, contains 21 titles (a few of which have either expired or havebeen repealed).  The principal programs established by the SocialSecurity Act and under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways andMeans in the 108th Congress can be outlined as follows:

    (a) Old-age, survivors, and disability insurance (Title II)--Atpresent, there are approximately 156 million workers in employmentcovered by the program, and for calendar year 2003, $479 billion inbenefits were paid to 47 million individuals.

    (b) Medicare (Title XVIII)--Provides hospital insurancebenefits to 34.9 million persons over the age of 65 and to 6.4 milliondisabled persons.  Voluntary supplementary medical insurance isprovided to 33.4 million aged persons and 5.6 million disabledpersons.  Total program outlays under these programs were $281 billionin 2003.

    c) Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (Title XVI)--The SSIprogram was inaugurated in January 1974 under the provisions of P.L.92-603, as amended.  It replaced the former Federal-State programs forthe needy aged, blind, and disabled.  On average in calendar year 2003,6.9 million individuals received Federal SSI benefits on a monthlybasis.  Of these 6.9 million persons, approximately 1.2 millionreceived benefits on the basis of age, and 5.6 million on the basis ofblindness or disability.  Federal expenditures for cash SSI payments in2003 totaled $35.6 billion, while State expenditures for federallyadministered SSI supplements totaled $4.9 billion.

    (d) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (part A ofTitle IV)--The TANF program is a block grant of about $16.5 billiondollars awarded to States to provide income assistance to poorfamilies, to end dependency on welfare benefits, to prevent nonmaritalbirths, and to encourage marriage, among other purposes.  TANF alsoincludes incentive funds for States that achieve overall program goalsand additional incentive funds for States that are successful inreducing non-marital births.  In most cases, Federal TANF benefits forindividuals are limited to 5 years and individuals must work tomaintain their eligibility.  In March 2004, about 2 million familiesand 4.8 million individuals received benefits from the TANF program.

    (e) Child support enforcement (part D of Title IV)--In fiscalyear 2003 Federal administrative expenditures totaled $5.2 billion forthe child support enforcement program.  Child support collections forthat year totaled $21.2 billion.

    (f) Child welfare, foster care, and adoption assistance (partsB and E of Title IV)--Titles IV B and E provide funds to States forchild welfare services for abused and neglected children; foster carefor children who meet Aid to Families with Dependent Childreneligibility criteria; and adoption assistance for children with specialneeds.  In fiscal year 2003, Federal expenditures for child welfareservices totaled $694 million.  Federal expenditures for foster careand adoption assistance were approximately $6.2 billion.

    (g) Unemployment compensation programs (Titles III, IX, andXII)--These titles authorize the Federal-State unemploymentcompensation program and the permanent extended benefits program. Between July 1, 2003, and June 30, 2004, an estimated $36.1 billion waspaid in unemployment compensation, with approximately 8.6 millionworkers receiving unemployment compensation payments.

    (h) Social services (Title XX)--Title XX authorizes the FederalGovernment to reimburse the States for money spent to provide personswith various services.  Generally, the specific services provided aredetermined by each State.  In fiscal year 2004, $1.7 billion wasappropriated.  These funds are allocated on the basis of population.

(4) Trade and tariff legislation.--The Committee on Ways and Meanshas responsibility over legislation relating to tariffs, import trade,and trade negotiations.  In the early days of the Republic, tariff andcustoms receipts were major sources of revenue for the FederalGovernment.  As the Committee with jurisdiction over revenue-raisingmeasures, the Committee on Ways and Means thus evolved as the primaryCommittee responsible for international trade policy.

The Constitution vests the power to levy tariffs and to regulateinternational commerce specifically in the Congress as one of itsenumerated powers.  Any authority to regulate imports or to negotiatetrade agreements must therefore be delegated to the executive branchthrough legislative action.  Statutes including the Reciprocal TradeAgreements Acts beginning in 1934, Trade Expansion Act of 1962, TradeAct of 1974, Trade Agreements Act of 1979, Trade and Tariff Act of1984, Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, North AmericanFree Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Implementation Act, Uruguay RoundAgreements Act, and Trade Act of 2002 provide the basis for U.S.bargaining with other countries to achieve the mutual reduction oftariff and nontariff trade barriers under reciprocal trade agreements.

            The Committee's jurisdiction includes the following authorities and programs:

   (a) The tariff schedules and all tariff preference programs, such asthe General System of Preferences and the Caribbean Basin Initiative;

    (b) Laws dealing with unfair trade practices, including theantidumping law, countervailing duty law, section 301, and section 337;

   (c) Other laws dealing with import trade, including section 201 (escapeclause), section 232 national security controls, section 22agricultural restrictions, international commodity agreements, textilerestrictions under section 204, and any other restrictions or sanctionsaffecting imports;

    (d) General and specific trade negotiating authority, as wellas implementing authority for trade agreements and the grant ofnormal-trade-relations (NTR) status;

     (e) General and NAFTA-related TAA programs for workers, and TAA for firms;

    (f) Customs administration and enforcement, including rules oforigin and country-of origin marking, customs classification, customsvaluation, customs user fees, and U.S. participation in the WorldCustoms Organization (WCO);

    (g) Authorization of the budget for the ITC, the U.S. CustomsService, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).