New Ways and Means Panel Still Taking Shape

For over 50 years, Bloomberg BNA’s renowned flagship daily news service, Daily Tax Report® has helped leading practitioners and policymakers stay on the cutting edge of taxation and...

By Kaustuv Basu

Nov. 15 — At least one Republican member of the House Ways and Means Committee is considering a possible role in the Donald Trump administration, signaling more change for the tax writing panel.

Rep. Tom Reed (N.Y.), who threw his support behind Trump early in the presidential race, said Nov. 15 he was talking to the new administration but didn’t provide any more details.

“We are talking. But we are just here to serve,” Reed said. “If we can serve in the administration, we’re always open to it.”

If Reed departs for an administration job, it will add to the three vacancies on the Republican side. Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (La.), chairman of the Tax Policy Subcommittee, finished third in the Louisiana Senate primary this month, meaning he won’t be able to contest a December runoff election. Rep. Robert Dold (Ill.) lost his seat in the House, while Rep. Todd Young (Ind.) is headed to the Senate.

Boustany said Nov. 14 that he was open to playing a role in the Trump administration as well, especially in the area of tax, trade and economics.

‘Going to Be Flexible.’

“I’m going to be flexible and help this administration in any way I possibly can,” Boustany said.

Reps. Jackie Walorski (Ind.), Mike Bishop (Mich.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Bradley Byrne (Ala.) and Andy Barr (Ky.) are among Republicans who are interested in the openings on the panel.

Ways and Means member Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) said Nov. 14 that she will run for the governor of South Dakota in 2018. She doesn’t plan on giving up her congressional seat before that. “I’ll still serve in the House,” she told Bloomberg BNA.

In the current Congress, Republicans hold 24 seats on the Ways and Means Committee, while Democrats hold 15. A clearer picture of the ratio of Republicans to Democrats in the committee for the 115th Congress will likely be available in December.

Whatever the final ratio, two senior Democratic seats on the panel will be empty in the new Congress with the retirement of Charles B. Rangel (N.Y.) and Jim McDermott (Wash.). Democrats interested in joining the committee include Reps. Brian Higgins (N.Y.), Suzan DelBene (Wash.) and Terri A. Sewell (Ala.).

With assistance from Allyson Versprille in Washington.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kaustuv Basu in Washington at kbasu@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Meg Shreve at mshreve@bna.com

Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.