In the wake of a failed effort to push through a permanent repeal of the estate tax, two Republican Congressman have introduced companion bills to form a new "Securing America's Future Economy Commission."

The 15-member commission would have the ability to reform tax policy and entitlement benefit programs and function similarly to the military base closing commission -- with proposed legislative packages receiving an up-or-down vote from Congress. T he president or the budget committee of either house of Congress would be able to submit alternatives.

In the bill introduced by Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., the commission is charged with developing legislation to address four key issues:

  • The unsustainable imbalance between long-term federal spending commitments and projected revenues;
  • Increasing net national savings to provide for domestic investment and economic growth;
  • The implications of foreign ownership of debt instruments issued by the U.S. government; and,
  • Improving the budget process to place greater emphasis on long-term fiscal issues.

The Senate version of the bill is being sponsored by George Voinovich, R-Ohio.As outlined under the legislation, the president would have the ability to appoint three members to the commission, including a chairperson, while each of the majority and minority leaders in Congress would appoint their own trio of members. The comptroller general and the director of the Congressional Budget Office would also serve as non-voting members of the commission.
The recommendations from the last high-profile tax reform committee, the President's Advisory Panel on Tax Reform, received little political traction when they were released in November 2005.

Previously on WebCPA:

No Tax Reform Talk in Bush's Address (Feb. 3, 2006)

Tax Overhaul May Be Another Year Away (Dec. 6, 2005)Tax Reform Panel Issues Report (Nov. 2, 2005)

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