Revenue-Neutral Tax Reform is Top Priority for Ways and Means, Camp Says

Comprehensive tax reform will likely pass the House Ways and Means Committee by the end of 2013, the panel’s chairman said on February 26. Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., told reporters that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, supports his effort to complete work on revenue-neutral legislation and has reserved bill number HR 1 as the legislative vehicle. Camp met with Capitol Hill reporters in a closed-door briefing to detail the committee’s activities for the next two years. The meeting came after the committee approved its View and Estimates letter to the House Budget Committee explaining its budget oversight activities planned during the 113th Congress.

Camp declined to predict whether the full House or the Senate would consider the legislation or whether the Senate would make significant changes to the House’s version of tax reform. He said Boehner’s decision to number the bill HR 1 shows the speaker’s commitment to passing legislation. He pointed to meetings underway with the bipartisan working groups of tax panel members, and said that help from the Treasury Department, in the form of statistics, studies and reports, would be welcome once a new Treasury secretary is approved by the Senate. A Treasury tax reform proposal would be welcome—depending on what it includes, he said.

Camp stated that he is not interested in raising revenue through specific provisions targeting industries, such as closing tax preferences for oil companies or carried interest. He said closing one or two loopholes is not comprehensive tax reform; in addition, Congress already raised revenue in the fiscal cliff legislation earlier in 2013. Instead, expect to see more discussion drafts of potential legislation combined with a return to regular order of hearings, markup and then floor consideration in order to pass tax reform, he said.

By Stephen K. Cooper, CCH News Staff


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