The Committee on Ways and Means is the chief tax-writing committee of the United States House of Representatives. The committee has jurisdiction over all taxation, tariffs, and other revenue-raising measures, as well as a number of other programs including Social Security, unemployment benefits, Medicare, the enforcement of child support laws, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, foster care, and adoption programs. Members of the Ways and Means Committee are not allowed to serve on any other House Committee unless they are granted a waiver from their party's congressional leadership. It has long been regarded as the most prestigious and most powerful committee in Congress.
The United States Constitution requires that all bills regarding taxation must originate in the U.S. House of Representatives, and House rules dictate that all bills regarding taxation must pass through Ways and Means. This system imparts upon the committee and its members a significant degree of influence over other representatives, committees, and public policy. (See also, the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance.)
Recent chairmen have included Bill Thomas, Charlie Rangel, Sander Levin, Dave Camp, Paul Ryan and Kevin Brady. On January 3, 2019, Richard Neal was sworn in as the new Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, upon the commencement of the 116th Congress. He used his authority as chairman to formally request the tax returns of President Trump in April 2019, after Democrats had signaled their intention to do so on the midterms election night.