Big Changes Ahead for Key Tax-Writing Committee

Big Changes Ahead for Key Tax-Writing Committee


No matter what happens in November’s elections, the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee will see some big changes, Politico’s Morning Tax says: “Four committee members are retiring, three ran for other political offices, one was picked off in a primary election and several are in tight re-election races.” Some staff members who worked on last year’s tax overhaul are also moving on.

The tax law may not be helping some committee Republicans seeking re-election. The Wall Street Journal’s Richard Rubin highlights the fight that Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) faces in selling the tax law and fending off criticism of it, calling Paulsen “the most endangered Republican member” of the committee. But three other Ways and Means Republicans “are in tossup races as they try to sell their biggest achievement,” Rubin says: Peter Roskam of Illinois, Mike Bishop of Michigan and Carlos Curbelo of Florida.

Why it matters: That all adds up to a potentially significant brain drain when it comes to tax policy and other areas. “The panel's other jurisdictions — health care, Social Security, trade, numerous family support programs and oversight — are also highly specialized,” Politico’s Toby Eckert notes. If Democrats win control of the House, Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts would likely take over the committee chairmanship and would likely lead efforts to “chisel away” at elements of the GOP tax law that largely favor the wealthy, Politico adds. Lawmakers at some point will probably have to deal with technical corrections to the tax law as well.