Michigan's Dave Camp one of "10 members to watch"

Jan 5, 2011

Today is the first day of the new republican controlled House of Representatives. Officially, along with the Senate, they're known as the 112th Congress. The members will be sworn in this afternoon.

The Washington Post blog "The Fix" has a list of 10 members of Congress to watch. Republican Dave Camp, of Michigan's 4th district, is listed as one of the ten:

Camp may be the most powerful member of Congress you've never heard of. He's the chairman of the mighty Ways and Means Committee and, though low profile, will have considerable sway over health care, taxes and trade. That's a wide -- and important -- palette.

The Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over revenue for the U.S. government (taxes) and "other related issues" - things like unemployment benefits, tariffs, trade agreements, Social Security, and Medicare.

One of Camp's main goals has been to simplify the tax code. In an NPR interview last month, Camp said:

"I think we have to reform our complex, burdensome tax code. It's 10 times the size of the Bible with none of the good news."

It's an argument that has broad appeal. Members from both sides of the aisle agree the tax system needs an overhaul, but the details of how to simplify the tax code are often where the agreement stops. From the interview: 

He acknowledges that it won't be easy to agree on whose tax breaks go away.

"They're all in there because somebody really wanted them, so it's not going to be easy to change them," [Camp] said. 

Changing who gets a tax break is just one of Camp's goals. On his website, Camp says his other goals include "reforming health care to focus on wellness and prevention; expanding access to quality, affordable health care through tax free savings accounts; protecting the welfare of our nation’s children through family focused foster care and adoption programs; and, promoting the production and use of alternative energy."