By Tara Kavaler | Arizona Republic
Rep. David Schweikert recently won a tough reelection campaign and is now the fourth-highest-ranking member of arguably the most powerful committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The House Ways and Means Committee, among other responsibilities, oversees entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Social Security, as well as the tax code.
Schweikert, R-Ariz., is chair of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee. He discussed his vision for the panel and his take, as a certified public accountant, on the upcoming debt ceiling in an interview with The Arizona Republic in his Washington, D.C., congressional office.
What’s next for the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee?
Schweikert said he believes there is room for bipartisanship.
“First principle is try to do it well,” Schweikert said when talking about his priorities for the oversight subcommittee. “Oversight on many other committees becomes sort of hyper-gotcha. You know, go after the administration. … In Ways and Means, you have such vast jurisdiction that’s critical to delivering services to the economy. We’re going to try to address it, very professional-like.”
“We need to understand what was the scale of the fraud that happened in the pandemic relief, the enhanced unemployment,” he continued. “But then we have other things, other things in the tax code that aren’t working or are working that we need to understand. Are there things in Medicare fraud? And it turns out I don’t believe any of those need to be a partisan war.”
Another goal for Schweikert’s subcommittee is to “find bad acts, expose them and fix them to find optimistic changes.”
He cited as example the issue over hiring new IRS agents, with Republicans skeptical of that action.
“If the goal is simplification and tax compliance, there may be a much more elegant technology solution,” Schweikert said. “How do you both do the research, do the hearings, bring in the experts, and then see if there’s potentially a bipartisan understanding of what the goal is? That’s an example of until we raise the information level on the debate, you’re not going to get to a solution. And oversight allows you to do that.”