Payne is a key liaison with the administration, the Senate, and House leadership for the committee, which lately has meant a lot of back-and-forth on tax reform. He has served on Ways and Means for seven years, originally as an economist focused primarily on trade. He became the chief economist when Dave Camp, R-Mich., moved up to chairman in 2011.
Payne, 40, was intricately involved in staffing Camp on the Simpson-Bowles commission and on the super committee, where Camp did some of his early work in pressing for sweeping tax reform.
He also brings a strong background in trade issues. Before coming to Capitol Hill, Payne, who is from Youngstown, N.Y., consulted on international trade and taxes at Economic Consulting Services in Washington. He also served as an economic adviser to a member of the International Trade Commission. At Ways and Means he crafted the economic analysis behind recent trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, Peru, and South Korea. As negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership heat up, Payne will be monitoring their potential impact.