Washington, D.C. – On January 11, 2017, Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (AL-7) was appointed to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee by the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and approved by the full Democratic Caucus.
“I am honored to sit on the prestigious House Committee on Ways and Means. Since my election to Congress in 2010, I have maintained a strong interest in serving on this coveted committee because of its profound impact on the health and welfare of my Alabama constituents. From healthcare and Medicare to Social Security and tax reform, the issues before the Ways and Means Committee directly affect the everyday lives of the people I represent and the concerns I have fought so passionately to defend.
“As the second African American woman ever to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee, I hope to bring a unique voice to the Committee that is further enhanced by the perspective of representing underserved communities in the industrial and rural South. Given the Republican agenda in the 115th Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, to privatize Medicare and to undermine Social Security, it will be imperative to have strong advocates who will fiercely protect the social safety net that provides a lifeline for so many Americans.
“ If Democrats are to win back the South, we have to understand the plight of the unemployed white coal miner, the disaffected single mother and the struggles of everyday Americans to earn a decent wage, educate their children and dare to live the American dream. It is this missing perspective that I will represent at the policy table by my appointment to the House Committee on Ways and Means.”
The Committee on Ways and Means is the oldest and most powerful committee of the United States Congress, and is the chief tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives. The Committee derives a large share of its jurisdiction from Article I, Section VII of the U.S. Constitution, which declares, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.”
Since 1865, the Ways and Means Committee has continued to exercise jurisdiction over revenue and related issues such as tariffs, reciprocal trade agreements, and the bonded debt of the United States. Revenue-related aspects of the Social Security system, Medicare, and social services programs have come within Ways and Means’ jurisdiction in the 20th century.
The roster of Ways and Means Committee members who have gone on to serve in higher office is impressive. Eight Presidents and eight Vice Presidents have served on Ways and Means, as have 21 Speakers of the House of Representatives, and four Justices of the Supreme Court.