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."
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 BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection 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 ReichertRepublicans try to tame their rowdy town halls The Hill's 12:30 Report Overnight Finance: Biz groups endorse Trump's Labor pick | New CBO score coming before health bill vote | Lawmakers push back on public broadcasting cuts 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 BlackGOP lawmakers push back against Club for Growth ads on border tax Border tax fight intensifies on Tax Day Dems on offense in gubernatorial races MORE (R-Tenn.) and Danny Davis (D-Ill.) at education and family benefits; and Reps. Kevin BradyKevin BradyOvernight Finance: Dems explore lawsuit against Trump | Full-court press for Trump tax plan | Clock ticks down to spending deadline Trump officials stage full-court press for tax plan Senate's No. 2 Republican: Border tax 'probably dead' 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 BlumenauerFearing crackdown, marijuana advocates turn to Congress House Democrat introduces bill to amend presidential removal procedures Marijuana legalization grows closer with Senate tax proposal 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 KindLawmakers targeted as district politics shift New bill does hard job of injecting capital into needy communities House GOP campaign arm targets Democrats over ObamaCare anniversary MORE (D-Wis.) will head the pensions and retirement group; Reps. Sam JohnsonSam JohnsonRyan transfers record M to House GOP's campaign arm in March Job creators need relief: Reform small-business healthcare End the ban on physician-owned hospitals 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.