A panel of top House Republicans has endorsed Texas GOP Rep. Kevin Brady to chair the influential Ways and Means committee.
Wednesday's secret ballot by the House Republican Steering Committee makes him the favorite to succeed Paul Ryan to head Ways and Means. All 246 House Republicans meet Thursday to formally elect a chairman.
Brady has been competing for the post with Ohio GOP Rep. Pat Tiberi. Brady has been in Congress 10 terms, Tiberi eight, and both men are considered pro-business conservatives.
Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican, is now speaker. The speaker usually dominates the Steering Committee, and its closed-door decisions are often viewed as reflecting his preferences.
Ways and Means is one of Congress' most powerful committees. It oversees taxes, trade, Social Security, welfare and many health programs.
The Associated Press provided this story.