New House Tax Chief Outlines Committee's Agenda

January 9, 2023

Representative Jason Smith (R-Mo.) has been selected to serve as House Ways and Means Chairman in the new Congress. 

“It is deeply humbling and an honor to be selected by my colleagues to serve as the next Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee,” Smith stated in prepared remarks.

House Republicans must first approve of Smith before he officially takes the helm of the committee, but being selected for the post is big step toward becoming chairman.

The House Ways and Means Committee is responsible for creating tax legislation that passes Congress.

Committee’s Agenda:

After receiving the nod to run the committee, Smith released his agenda for the panel.  

The first item on his agenda is defunding the IRS of the $80 billion it received from the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act.  

“Our first step is defunding the $80 billion pay increase Democrats gave the IRS to hire 87,000 new agents to target working families,” Smith stated in prepared remarks.

The House is expected to pass this legislation. Passage in the Senate, however, is unlikely since Democrats control that chamber and they will likely not support defunding the tax agency of money they just recently bestowed to it.

Smith also wants to conduct oversight hearings on the IRS.

“[T]he new IRS Commissioner should plan to spend a lot of time before our committee answering questions about the leaking of sensitive taxpayer information and an agency with a history of targeting conservative Americans. We will make it clear to every IRS employee that the Ways and Means Committee welcomes whistleblower efforts to uncover corrupt behavior at that agency,” Smith stated.   

Aside from IRS investigations, the committee’s broad legislative agenda includes:

  • Utilizing the tax code to increase jobs, grow wages, and build financial and health care security for families. [...]
  • Re-shoring and strengthening supply chains to create food, medical, and energy independence.
  • Advancing the interests of American workers and punishing unfair trade practices that benefit China at the expense of the American workforce and job creators.
  • Unleashing American energy production that rebuilds America’s energy independence while lowering costs for consumers.
  • Restoring and strengthening policies that will transition able-bodied adults off of welfare and back to the workforce.

A Specific Agenda Item:

One of the big legislative issues that the committee is expected to tackle is extending many of the tax cuts from the 2017 tax reform bill. While many of these provisions do not expire until the end of 2025, some lawmakers want to extend them well before they expire to give taxpayers some level of certainty in the Internal Revenue Code.

If the committee passes such legislation, it will likely pass the House chamber. Once the bill travels to the Senate, however, it is not clear if lawmakers in the upper chamber will be able to pass it.

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