I am also saddened by the recent death of long-time Joint Committee on Taxation staffer Mel Thomas. Behind a paywall in Tax Notes, Martin Sullivan has published a tribute that begins as follows:
It was 2 a.m. when Minority Leader wanted details on what boats would be subject to the proposed luxury excise tax. Negotiations were touch-and-go on a $500 billion bill. Only leadership and one staff member were allowed in a small conference room in the U.S. Capitol. Fortunately, that staffer was , an expert on tax law and on boating.
I got to know Mel when I was on the JCT staff between 1984 and 1987. We didn't work on the same matters, but it was a small staff and he had a large footprint. He was beloved by staffers - but at times less so by lobbyists! - either despite or because of his demanding rigor and excellence. A favorite quote: "You're wrong, but go ahead."