WASHINGTON – Pat Meehan is taking a step up.

The Republican Congressman from Delaware County has been appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, his office announced Friday, giving him a spot on an A-list panel that oversees tax policy.

Meehan will replace fellow Republican Jim Gerlach, of Chester County, ensuring that the region retains some say on the influential committee. Gerlach did not seek re-election.

"Ways and Means will play a key role in growing our economy and creating jobs," Meehan said in  a new release. He pointed to plans to simplify the tax code and watch over the IRS. "I'm honored to be named to the committee and grateful for the confidence my colleagues have shown me."

With its influence, the panel is also a magnet for political donations.

After Gerlach announced his plans to retire, the region's Republicans pushed GOP leaders to keep someone from the Philadelphia area on the committee. Meehan had been lobbying colleagues for the post for weeks.

Most of the committee's Republican members come from the South or Midwest. The only other Pennsylvanian who will be on the panel next Congress is the GOP's Mike Kelly, from the northwest corner of the commonwealth.

In landing a spot on a coveted committee Meehan could also be in line to confront some difficult, high profile votes, with tax reform being one topic sure to draw intense scrutiny and lobbying.

Former GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.), will lead the committee.

"Pat will help us tackle our biggest challenges, like reforming our broken tax code, strengthening the social safety net, and pursuing patient-centered health care reforms," Ryan said in the Meehan news release.

The Philadelphia region's only other member on the committee, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D., Pa.) is also leaving Congress after running for governor earlier this year.

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