With an eye toward wins in the November elections, House Republicans introduced legislation Tuesday that aims to streamline the procedures for enacting tax reforms next year.
House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier, R-Calif., and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., introduced H.R. 6169, the Pathway to Job Creation through a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code Act of 2012. The bill would implement expedited procedures to enable lawmakers in both the House and Senate to overcome multiple technical hurdles that often cause bills to languish during the legislative process.
“The United States Tax Code is far too complex and bloated,” Dreier said in a statement. “It forces American citizens and small business owners to focus on filling out tax forms instead of tending to their families and businesses. It is clear to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle that real, fundamental reforms to our Tax Code are long overdue. In fact, our revenue laws have not been substantially reformed in 50 years. Congress must enact comprehensive reform that simplifies our Tax Code while lowering the tax burden on working families and small businesses. These reforms will focus on incentivizing individuals and job creators to invest in our economy.”
Dreier acknowledged that comprehensive tax reform is difficult to achieve because of the many procedural obstacles in both the House and Senate, which often favor the status quo. The legislation promises to provide a step-by-step process for consideration of comprehensive tax reform legislation and overcome obstructionism.
Under the proposed legislation, in the House, if the Rules Committee fails to provide for consideration of an applicable tax reform bill within 15 days after the Ways and Means Committee reports the tax reform bill or is discharged, a process for floor consideration of the bill, similar to an open rule, would automatically be put in place. In the Senate, any applicable tax reform bill would not be subject to a cloture vote on a Motion to Proceed or on individual amendments. A cloture vote may still be required to end consideration of the bill. The expedited procedures would also require that amendments be relevant to the underlying bill.
“Instead of tax hikes, hardworking taxpayers deserve a simpler, fairer and flatter Tax Code that lowers rates and abandons the Washington game of picking winners and losers,” Camp said in a statement. “We should work together to fix our broken and outdated tax system and give certainty to American employers and families. This legislation compels Congress to act on comprehensive tax reform next year so that we can get Americans working again and on a path to sustained economic growth. When coupled with reduced federal spending, comprehensive tax reform could lead to the creation of 1 million jobs in the first year alone. This is the economic jolt our country needs.”
Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., the ranking Democratic member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the procedures in the bill would enable Republicans to "railroad through" their tax legislation. “The process outlined by Republicans would railroad through Congress a radical rewrite of the Tax Code that would lead to huge additional tax cuts for the very wealthy and hundreds of thousands of jobs being shipped overseas," he said in a statement.
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