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 BoehnerMarch is the biggest month for GOP in a decade House markup of ObamaCare repeal bill up in the air Conservatives to Congress: Get moving 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 ReichertA guide to the committees: House GOP talking security for ObamaCare protests: report Republicans who oppose, support Trump refugee order MORE (R-Wash) and John Lewis (D-Ga.) at charitable and tax exempt organizations; Reps. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) and Jim McDermottJim McDermottDem lawmaker: Israel's accusations start of 'war on the American government' Dem to Trump on House floor: ‘Stop tweeting’ A record number of Indian Americans have been elected to Congress MORE (D-Wash.) at debt, equity and capital; Reps. Diane BlackDiane BlackIf Democrats want to take back the White House start now A guide to the committees: House House votes to let states deny federal funds to abortion providers MORE (R-Tenn.) and Danny Davis (D-Ill.) at education and family benefits; and Reps. Kevin BradyKevin BradyHouse Dem forces GOP to take recorded vote on Trump tax returns Trump says he wants to 'make taxes between countries much more fair' House Intel chief on Trump tax returns subpoena: 'No, we're not going to do that' 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 BlumenauerKentucky Dem lawmaker questions Trump's mental health A guide to the committees: House Democrats raise questions about Trump’s mental health 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 KindThe buzzword everyone can agree on in the health debate: RESTORE A guide to the committees: House Overnight Tech: House weighs laws for driverless cars | Dems hit FCC chief on broadband | A new online fundraising tool | Microsoft calls for a 'digital Geneva Convention' MORE (D-Wis.) will head the pensions and retirement group; Reps. Sam JohnsonSam JohnsonA guide to the committees: House Physician-owned hospitals: Competition that drives quality GOP bill would gut EPA 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.