Texas GOP Rep. Brady endorsed to lead House tax committee, likely to win final vote

A panel of top House Republicans endorsed Texas GOP Rep. Kevin Brady on Wednesday to chair the influential Ways and Means committee, all but assuring that the 10-term veteran lawmaker will win the coveted post.

All 246 House Republicans meet Thursday to formally elect a chairman for the panel, which was headed until last week by Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, the new speaker.

Brady, 60, won the backing of the House Republican Steering Committee over Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, an eight-term House veteran who like Brady is viewed as a business-friendly conservative.

Brady prevailed in a secret ballot at a closed-door Steering committee meeting. The vote tally was not announced.

The speaker usually dominates the Steering committee, and its decisions are generally viewed as reflecting the speaker's preferences. One Steering committee member, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., said Ryan spoke up on Brady's behalf.

Ways and Mean is one of Congress' most powerful committees. It oversees taxes, trade, Social Security, welfare and many health programs.

Before Brady's victory was announced, he told reporters that he is "a pro-growth conservative" who will push measures to overhaul the tax code, open more markets to trade, strengthen Social Security and Medicare and replace President Obama's health care law.