U.S. congressional Republicans will retain Thomas Barthold as chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, which estimates the cost of tax legislation.
“Tom has been a strong, nonpartisan leader,” said a joint statement today from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. “He and his staff produce quality, objective reports and analyses that help shape the major policy debates that are important to hard-working American taxpayers. We look forward to continuing our work with him.”
Hatch of Utah and Ryan of Wisconsin are Republicans who are new to their jobs as chairmen of their respective chambers’ tax- writing committees. They could have used the moment to replace Barthold, whose analyses and estimates will be central to any effort to revamp the U.S. tax code.
Barthold is an economist and career Joint Committee employee who has had his job since May 2009. He was chosen when Democrats controlled the House and the Senate. He declined to comment today on the lawmakers’ statement.
He’s the longest-serving Joint Committee chief since 1977 and leads a team of nonpartisan lawyers and economists.
Barthold will be responsible for implementing the House rule adopted last week for so-called dynamic scoring of tax legislation. That method of making revenue estimates would give Republicans greater leeway to adopt tax policies that otherwise would have been estimated to increase the U.S. budget deficit.
The stability at the Joint Committee is in contrast to the potential change at the Congressional Budget Office, which creates estimates for non-tax legislation.
Unlike Barthold, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf serves on a fixed term, which expired Jan. 3. He is still in the job pending a decision on his future.
Republicans have decided to replace Elmendorf, a party aide briefed on the decision told Bloomberg News last month. They haven’t made an official announcement.
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