Jennifer Safavian, Majority Staff Director and General Counsel

Jennifer Safavian, Majority Staff Director; General Counsel
National Journal
Stacy Kaper
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Stacy Kaper
Oct. 23, 2013, 2 p.m.

As staff dir­ect­or, Safavi­an co­ordin­ates schedul­ing for hear­ings and markups, handles all per­son­nel mat­ters and com­mit­tee budget­ing, and above all en­sures that the agenda of Ways and Means Chair­man Dave Camp, R-Mich., is on track.

Safavi­an’s oth­er job as gen­er­al coun­sel is just as in­volved. She combs through all of the le­gis­la­tion sent over from the Sen­ate to en­sure that any rev­en­ue pro­vi­sion ori­gin­ates in the House, as re­quired un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion. This is no small mat­ter, be­cause any bill that raises fees or im­poses fines — like im­mig­ra­tion re­form — could be con­sidered a rev­en­ue bill.

Some­times the Sen­ate does not even send bills with rev­en­ue im­pacts over to the House and oth­er times bills go to the House without be­ing re­ferred to the com­mit­tee. Al­though Safavi­an could make a stink far more of­ten, the Ways and Means Com­mit­tee rather spar­ingly uses its “blue slip” power to send bills back to the Sen­ate — per­haps once every few years for a sig­ni­fic­ant mat­ter.

Safavi­an also nav­ig­ates all of the pan­el’s par­lia­ment­ari­an is­sues in com­mit­tee and on the floor, and gets in­volved when an­oth­er com­mit­tee’s jur­is­dic­tion over­laps with Ways and Means, such as En­ergy and Com­merce on health care mat­ters or For­eign Af­fairs on trade.

Safavi­an, 43, is from St. Louis and star­ted work­ing on Cap­it­ol Hill in 1997. She joined the Ways and Means staff in 2011 as staff dir­ect­or for the Over­sight Sub­com­mit­tee and moved up to staff dir­ect­or for the full com­mit­tee last year when Jon Traub left Cap­it­ol Hill for the private sec­tor. Safavi­an’s back­ground on what is now the House Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form Com­mit­tee has made her a valu­able as­set in the Ways and Means Com­mit­tee’s in­vest­ig­a­tion of the In­tern­al Rev­en­ue Ser­vice.

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