Joshua Sheinkman, Minority Staff Director
Sheinkman listens to the Grateful Dead on his morning commute to make sure he stays mellow at the office. It’s a good habit, considering that he sees tax reform as his most exciting project this year. That requires an appreciation for the long haul. “My first project when Senator [Ron] Wyden tapped me to be his tax counsel in 2005 was to write a tax reform bill. It would be a career highlight to get tax reform enacted after 10 years of working toward that goal,” he says.
Indeed, Sheinkman’s entire Capitol Hill career has been with Wyden. He was Wyden’s legislative director for seven years and has been majority staff director on two Senate committees under Wyden—in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee in 2013, then in the Finance Committee last year, when Max Baucus resigned as chairman to become ambassador to China. Now that Democrats are in the minority, he says his main job is to ensure that Wyden and other committee Democrats’ priorities are reflected in the panel’s activities.
Sheinkman was a lawyer before he was a staffer. He worked for five years as an attorney after he earned his law degree at the New York University School of Law. On his LinkedIn page he describes those years this way, “Focusing on environmental issues, my law career tracked the economy—I began working on deals and ended up working on bankruptcy cases.” He has a bachelor’s degree in history and literature from Harvard University, and a law degree from New York University School of Law.
Jocelyn Moore, Minority Deputy Staff Director
Moore wanted to work on the Finance Committee long before she became an official staffer there. She started her career on Capitol Hill in 2000, working for her home-state senator, Zell Miller of Georgia. She moved on to the personal office of Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, then spent the next nine years working in various capacities for Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, including as legislative director and staff director of the Finance Health Subcommittee. She is a key architect of many of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. It was in that job that she developed long-standing relationships with Sen. Orrin Hatch’s staff as Rockefeller and Hatch worked to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Wyden asked Moore to be the deputy chief of staff in his personal office when Rockefeller announced his retirement in 2013. From there, she became the committee’s deputy staff director for the Democrats when Wyden became chairman. She dabbles in all the issues facing the committee, which she rattles off thusly: “Trade, tax reform, Medicare physician payment, Children’s Health Insurance Program funding, transportation funding, and Finance-related provisions in the upcoming budget resolution.”
She has a bachelor’s degree and a Master’s of Education from the University of Florida. She describes herself as “a proud Florida Gator and an amateur art collector.”
Michael Evans, Minority Chief Counsel
Evans came up with perhaps the most innovative way to combine his two loves—Shakespeare and taxes. His commentary ” Shakespeare’s Guide to Tax Policy” was published in the trade publication Tax Notes in 2009. In it, he acknowledges that readers must look carefully at the Bard for tax guidance, lest they miss it. “To most people (readers of Tax Notes excepted), tax policy does not pack the same dramatic punch as, say, murder, civil war, or tragically doomed romance.”
These days, Evans says he is immersed in the Finance Committee’s multiple arenas of taxes and trade. His job is to prepare the committee for markups and floor debates, and assist other senior aides on strategy and policy. He had been working in private practice for more than 10 years when Wyden asked him in 2014 to come back to the Senate as the Oregon senator was assuming the committee chairmanship.
Evans certainly knows the committee. He started as tax counsel for Baucus in 1983 and stayed on Capitol Hill for almost 20 years. “Given my age and tenure, I probably also serve in the role of ‘designated grey-haired guy’ on this young and highly talented staff,” he said.
He has a bachelor’s degree from Salem State College and a law degree from Harvard University.
Todd Metcalf, Minority Chief Tax Counsel
Metcalf likes to relax on weekends by binge-watching British detective shows. His says his favorites are “Poirot, Miss Jane Marple, Foyle’s War, Inspector Gently.” And this comes after a hard morning of reading biographies and “of course, articles about tax policy.”
Tax reform looms large in Metcalf’s mind. He says he both fears and looks forward to revamping the tax code this year. “As we learned in the wake of 1986, it is possible—maybe even likely—to get something wrong, which can have serious economic consequences. So it’s scary,” he said.
Still, Metcalf echoes almost every tax expert in the country when he says the consequences of doing nothing are far scarier. He expresses this concept with literary aplomb. “The moment for action is upon us. We just have to hope that Pliny the Elder was right when he said, ‘Fortune favors the bold.’”
Metcalf has spent more than half of his Capitol Hill career in the House, starting as legislative counsel to Rep. Max Sandlin of Texas and eventually running floor operations for House Democratic Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina. His job now is a weighty one—trying to balance the Democratic committee members’ tax priorities with those of the Republican side to come up with a bipartisan overhaul. That means going to a lot of meetings, where he says lots of good ideas are getting bounced around by staff. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis.
Elizabeth Jurinka, Minority Chief Health Policy Advisor
Jurinka wanted to pursue a career in musical theater, but Steny Hoyer convinced her otherwise. She was in college at the University of Maryland when she got an internship with the House Minority Whip. “That experience was all the convincing I needed that Congress was a better fit for me than 42nd Street,” she said. She started her Capitol Hill career in 2006 as staff assistant to Rep. Melissa Bean of Illinois.
Jurinka jumped right into the fray with the multi-year health care saga that concluded with passage of the Affordable Care Act. She earned her master’s degree in government from Johns Hopkins University at the same time. She joined Wyden’s staff in 2011 and became the committee’s chief policy advisor for health care last year, when Wyden took the committee gavel. She oversees all things health care for the Democrats—Medicare, Medicaid, and the ACA. “I’m happy to say there is never a dull moment,” she says.
She certainly appreciates the agricultural proclivities of her boss’s home state. “There’s nothing I love more than opening a great Oregon pinot with my husband, and preparing a delicious spread for friends and family together.”
Jayme White, Minority Chief Adviser for International Competitiveness and Innovation
White only planned on staying in Washington for a year or two when he started working for his hometown Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington state in 2000. Before that job, he helped run a small independent record label in Seattle and thought he would wind up in New York or Los Angeles. He thinks back on those times and wonders, “Who knew that Congress could be so “… fun?”
White stayed with McDermott for nine years before moving to the Senate. He became the staff director for the Finance Committee’s subcommittee on international trade in 2009, where Wyden was the top Democrat. He plays dual roles now on the Finance Committee, helping to advance the Democrats’ trade priorities and also promoting the digital economy. “The trade agenda is really ambitious. From the trade negotiations underway to the renewal of important trade laws, there is no shortage of interesting and challenging work,” he says.
But, that’s not all on his mind. He is active in lots of hobbies, including camping and hiking with his dogs, and brewing his own beer. A true Capitol Hill insider, he named one of his favorite home brews “The Nuclear Option.” He has a bachelor’s degree and a Master’s of Public Policy from Georgetown University.
CORRECTION: The original version of this article misstated how long Jocelyn Moore worked for Sen. Jay Rockefeller.