House Committee on Ways and Means

Chair: Richard Neal

F

Projected Grade for the 116th Congress*

* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]

0 Investigative Oversight Hearings

19 Policy/Legislative Hearings

51 Total Hearings

Last updated: June 30, 2020, 10:12 a.m.

The oldest committee in Congress, Ways and Means is also one of the most powerful. The Constitution says all tax and other revenue bills must originate in the House, and by rule they pass through Ways and Means. With jurisdiction over tax reform and tariffs, as well as aspects of Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and welfare, the chair of the committee in the past has often been as prominent as the Speaker of the House, including such legendary figures as Dan Rostenkowski and Wilbur Mills. The chair is also one of the few to have an office in the Capitol building. Members are not allowed to serve on any other committee without a waiver from their party’s leadership. With just over 40 members, the committee is one of the larger ones in the House. Membership on the committee is considered useful for raising campaign contributions, and its influence over a broad range of policy often attracts members with strong ideological views. In the 115th Congress, the committee had six subcommittees: health; human resources; oversight; tax policy; Social Security; and trade.

Despite its broad jurisdiction and members with few other committee assignments, Ways and Means has had a less active hearing schedule than many other influential committees, such as Armed Services or Energy and Commerce. Hearing activity spiked in the 112th Congress under new chair Dave Camp (R, Mich.) with 106 hearings, but the average for the other four Congresses in the period was just 67. The committee has also had a somewhat erratic recent history of investigative oversight, from a high of eight investigative oversight hearings in the 113th Congress under Chair Camp, to none in the 115th Congress (2017-18) under Chair Kevin Brady (R, Tex.)

During the 115th Congress, the first two years of Trump administration when a major tax reform bill was passed, the committee held only 39 legislative and policy hearings, the second fewest of the period. It held no investigative oversight hearings into agency or private sector conduct, the lowest figure of the period.


Chairs

111th Congress: Sander Levin (D-MI) [Charlie Rangel (D-NY)]

112th Congress: Dave Camp (R-MI)

113th Congress: Dave Camp (R-MI)

114th Congress: Kevin Brady (R-TX)

115th Congress: Kevin Brady (R-TX)

116th Congress: Richard Neal (D-MA)


Current Congress

We are 82% of the way through the 116th Congress

House Committee on Ways and Means

0 Investigative Oversight Hearings; 0% historical maximum
19 Policy/Legislative Hearings; 35% historical maximum
51 Total Hearings; 55% historical maximum

Committee History

Number of Hearings
Committee Hearing Performance
Investigative/Oversight Policy/Legislative Total Hearings Score Grade
111th Congress 2 34 54 57% F
112th Congress 1 63 106 100% A
113th Congress 8 49 80 98% A
114th Congress 6 34 72 76% C
115th Congress 0 39 61 58% F
116th Congress* 0 19 51 52% F
Historical average 2.8 39.7 70.7

* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]

Number of Hearings

--- Historical Average

Hearings held by the
House Committee on Ways and Means

Date Hearing Title Committee Category