Ways and Means unveils tax reform working groups

Rep. Sandy Levin (Mich.), the top panel’s top Democrat, added that the “working groups provide a framework to undertake in-depth fact-finding on a variety of important issues related to tax reform."

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Ways and Means is announcing the working groups as their colleagues across the Rotunda, the Senate Finance panel, are trying to release a set of drafts from the entire committee in the spring.

Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-Ohio), the chairman of the Ways and Means panel on Taxes, said the working groups could allow the two parties to build the sort of trust that was he said was lacking during the debate over the Democratic healthcare overhaul.

But the Ohio Republican also appeared skeptical that the working groups would move the ball forward all that much.

“I think it’s a way to find common ground,” Tiberi told The Hill. “At least we’re talking with each other. I don’t think anything bad can come out of it. And maybe something good will.”

The working groups also come after President Obama’s nod toward tax reform in his State of the Union underwhelmed some Republicans. Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner‘Lone wolf’ characterization of mass murderers is the epitome of white privilege Pelosi urges Ryan to create select committee on gun violence Ex-congressman Michael Grimm formally announces bid for old seat MORE (R-Ohio) has also suggested in recent weeks that a tax reform push might not be worth the effort, given the partisan differences between the two parties.

One congressional aide said the working groups could also buy policymakers more time to see what's politically possible on tax reform.

The leaders of the working groups are: Reps. Dave ReichertDavid ReichertJuan Williams: Momentum builds against gerrymandering GOP worries as state Dems outperform in special elections Targeted Republicans push back on retirement speculation MORE (R-Wash) and John Lewis (D-Ga.) at charitable and tax exempt organizations; Reps. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) and Jim McDermottJim McDermottLobbying World Dem lawmaker: Israel's accusations start of 'war on the American government' Dem to Trump on House floor: ‘Stop tweeting’ MORE (D-Wash.) at debt, equity and capital; Reps. Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now House to vote on budget next week Blackburn says she's interested in Corker's seat MORE (R-Tenn.) and Danny Davis (D-Ill.) at education and family benefits; and Reps. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyGOP eyes limits on investor tax break Overnight Finance: White House requests B for disaster relief | Ex-Equifax chief grilled over stock sales | House panel approves B for border wall | Tax plan puts swing-state Republicans in tough spot Swing-seat Republicans squirm over GOP tax plan MORE (R-Texas) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) at the energy working group.

Reps. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) and John Larson (D-Conn.) will helm the financial services working group, and Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) will lead the income and tax distribution group.

Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerCongress should stand with the majority of Americans and support Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment Dem to join mental health group advocating Trump's removal House votes to block aircraft sales to Iran MORE (D-Ore.) will be in the top spots at the international group, and Reps. Jim GerlachJim GerlachFormer reps: Increase support to Ukraine to deter Russia With Trump and GOP Congress, job creators can go on offense Big names free to lobby in 2016 MORE (R-Pa.)  and Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) will lead the manufacturing group.

Finally: Tiberi and Rep. Ron KindRon KindDemocratic rep calls on Wisconsin governor to expand Medicaid Congress should prioritize small farmers and taxpayers over Big Ag Why Trump is fighting Canada on softwood lumber and dairy MORE (D-Wis.) will head the pensions and retirement group; Reps. Sam JohnsonSam JohnsonHow Republicans split on the Harvey aid, fiscal deal House passes Trump deal on majority Democratic vote Week ahead: Tech awaits Trump budget MORE (R-Texas) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), the real estate group; and Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) and Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), the small business and pass-throughs group.


This post was updated at 11:10 a.m. on Thursday Feb. 14.