House chooses Paul Ryan to chair tax panel, a possible 2016 platform

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republican leaders have chosen Paul Ryan to head the powerful House Ways and Means Committee for the next two years.

The new post could give the Wisconsin Republican a high-profile platform if he decides to run for president in 2016 or beyond.

Ryan was the party's vice presidential nominee two years ago. He has sidestepped questions about his plans for 2016.

His new job will give him a voice on the biggest economic issues facing the country, including taxes, trade, Social Security, health care and social programs.

The House GOP steering committee chose Ryan for the Ways and Means job Tuesday. The entire House Republican conference is expected to approve all the committee chairmen on Wednesday, the vote usually a formality.

Upon his selection, Ryan offered the following statement:

“I want to thank my colleagues for giving me the opportunity to chair the Ways and Means Committee in the 114th Congress. 

We have a lot of work to do to get our economy back on track, and the Ways and Means Committee will be at the forefront of reform. We will work together to fix the tax code, hold the IRS accountable, strengthen Medicare and Social Security, repair the safety net, promote job-creating trade agreements, and determine how best to repeal and replace Obamacare with patient-centered solutions. 

I want to thank Chairman Dave Camp for his leadership and also recognize Congressman Kevin Brady for his tireless work on behalf of our country. The Ways and Means Committee is full of talented people on both sides of the aisle, and I can't wait to get to work.”