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."

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 BoehnerTrump may pose problem for Ryan in Speaker vote Conservatives backing Trump keep focus on Supreme Court Vote House Republicans out 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 ReichertUS businesses can start applying for tariff reductions on scarce products House lawmakers call on Obama administration to oppose Iran joining global trade body Ryan: Pacific deal can't be fixed in time for lame-duck vote MORE (R-Wash) and John Lewis (D-Ga.) at charitable and tax exempt organizations; Reps. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) and Jim McDermottJim McDermottHouse passes bill exempting some from ObamaCare mandate Government to step in if insurance companies don't offer affordable health care choices Dems fear they made a mistake passing ObamaCare provision MORE (D-Wash.) at debt, equity and capital; Reps. Diane BlackDiane BlackIvanka sells Trump childcare to Capitol Hill Trump calls congresswoman to stage at child care policy speech Overnight Healthcare: Zika funding stalemate drags on | Tighter rules for ObamaCare sign-ups | New EpiPen probe MORE (R-Tenn.) and Danny Davis (D-Ill.) at education and family benefits; and Reps. Kevin BradyKevin BradyGOP lawmakers ask IRS to explain M wasted on unusable email system Rep. Brady plans to move tax reform legislation in 2017 US confirms China has ended tax breaks for domestic airplanes 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 BlumenauerOvernight Finance: House GOP grills IRS chief on impeachment | Bipartisan anger over Iran payment | Fed holds rates steady but hints at coming hike Panel votes to extend nuclear power tax credit DEA decision against reclassifying marijuana ignores public opinion MORE (D-Ore.) will be in the top spots at the international group, and Reps. Jim GerlachJim GerlachBig names free to lobby in 2016 Ex-Rep. Gerlach ditches K St. in return to campaign world Ex-Sen. Pryor heading to K Street MORE (R-Pa.)  and Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) will lead the manufacturing group.

Finally: Tiberi and Rep. Ron KindRon KindRyan: Pacific deal can't be fixed in time for lame-duck vote House Democrat expects support to grow for Pacific trade deal Hatch: TPP deal can get done in lame-duck session MORE (D-Wis.) will head the pensions and retirement group; Reps. Sam JohnsonSam JohnsonRepublican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman IRS publishes guidelines on tax relief for wrongfully incarcerated people Overnight Finance: House votes to rein in IRS; Ryan won't set Puerto Rico timeline 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.