House tax panel’s staff director departs

The staff director for the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which is responsible for tax, trade and entitlements policy, is leaving his post.

Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) announced Thursday that Jon Traub will leave for a job in the private sector at the end of the month. Traub had previously served as chief tax counsel for the panel and was deeply involved in the talks of the deficit supercommittee.

Going forward, general counsel Jennifer Safavian will serve as staff director. Communications director Sage Eastman has been given the new title of strategy and public affairs director, along with added messaging responsibilities, and chief economist Warren Payne will become policy director.

“Starting as chief tax counsel under my good friend Jim McCrery and serving as staff director for me in the minority and majority, Jon's exceptional knowledge of policy and the Hill has been a tremendous asset,” Camp said.

The departure comes as House Republicans prepare to engage in negotiations with the White House on payroll tax, unemployment insurance and Medicare. Those talks, set to begin next week, face an end of February deadline. 

“To our new captains, and every member of the team: There is no off-season — the work and the fun begins immediately,” Camp said.