How Codification of the Tax Statutes and the Emergence of the Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation Helped Change the Nature of the Legislative Process
In 1926, Congress created the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) and its staff. This article explains how, partly by design but largely by happenstance, the JCT staff helped change the nature of the legislative process. By serving at or near the intersection of three great divides in government — those between the parties, the houses of Congress, and the legislative and executive branches — the staff demonstrated the value of unelected professionals assisting directly in the formation of legislation and led Congress to rely more on its own resources in the legislative process rather than those of the executive branch. This article describes the emergence of the JCT staff from a modest conception much different from its eventual role. The staff’s work on a lengthy and highly technical project — a dozen-year effort to codify the tax statutes — contributed to the growth of its influence and the changes that would take place in the legislative process.