U.S. Rep. Thomas Suozzi, a Glen Cove Democrat, was appointed Thursday to the powerful Committee on Ways and Means, the chief tax-writing committee of the House of Representatives.
The committee appointment follows a reported internal debate among Democrats, with House newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Bronx Democrat whose political star has risen meteorically of late, also vying for the appointment.
Suozzi, a certified public accountant and attorney by training, was formerly mayor of the City of Glen Cove and the Nassau County executive. On the Ways and Means Committee, Suozzi assumes the seat formerly held by U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, a 10-term congressman whom Ocasio-Cortez defeated in a primary last June, before handily winning the 14th District in the General Election.
“It is an honor to be appointed and serve my constituents on this committee,” Suzzoi said in a release. “I will fight for the national issues voters and American families are concerned about — increasing wages, improving retirement security and reducing health care and prescription drug costs.”
He also said that he would work to reinstate the federal deduction for state and local taxes. He recently teamed with U.S. Rep. Peter King, a Republican from Seaford, to call on Congress to restore it retroactively. Loss of the deduction, many said they fear, will cost Long Islanders millions in tax payments in a region that is already over-taxed.
New York state is a “net donor” to the federal government, according to Suozzi. Estimates range from $36 billion to $46 billion in annual income tax dollars that New Yorkers pay to the federal government that is not reinvested back in New York, he said.
The Ways and Means Committee, Suozzi said, is “essential to striking a fairer balance between our tax dollars and reinvestment in our state.”
Established in 1789, the Committee on Ways and Means is the oldest congressional committee and exercises jurisdiction over tariffs, trade agreements, Social Security, Medicare and other social-service programs. Typically reserved for senior House members, committee alumni include eight presidents and eight vice presidents, 21 House speakers and four Supreme Court justices.
Suozzi is vice chairman of the Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which comprises 22 Democrats and 22 Republicans. And he is co-chairman of the Long Island Sound Caucus and co-chairman of the Quiet Skies Caucus.