Wilson Center Experts
Bill Thomas represented California’s 22nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 2007. During his final six years in the House he was chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means which is responsible for tax, trade, Social Security and Medicare programs. During his six year chairmanship he helped guide to enactment the 2001 tax relief, Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act, the 2003 Jobs and Growth Tax Reconciliation Act, and the Job Creation Act of 2004. Prior to chairing the Ways and Means Committee, he was chairman of the House Administration Committee from 1995 to 2001. While still in the House, he was cochairman of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare in 1998-99. Since leaving Congress he served in 2009-2011 as vice chairman of the National Commission on the Causes of the Financial and Economic Crisis in the United States (also known as the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission). Prior to serving in Congress he was a member of the California State Assembly from 1974 to 1979, and a political science professor at Bakersfield College from 1965 to 1974. He earned a B.A. and M.A. from San Francisco State University.