Leaders of the Senate Finance Committee have formed five bipartisan working groups with the goal of analyzing the tax code and developing policy recommendations for comprehensive tax reform.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and ranking Democratic member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced the launch of the five working groups Thursday. The groups are supposed to analyze the current tax laws and examine the various policy trade-offs and reform options within each topic area.
Each group will be co-chaired by one Republican and one Democratic member.
The policy focus areas for the working groups include: 1) individual income tax; 2) business income tax; 3) savings and investment; 4) international tax; and 5) community development and infrastructure.
[IMGCAP(1)]“Republicans and Democrats agree the American tax system is too complicated, unfair, and is hurting economic growth,” Hatch said in a statement. “With the launch of these working groups, members will have an opportunity to thoroughly examine the code and put forward smart ideas that will help lay the groundwork for a bipartisan tax overhaul that will provide bigger paychecks, better jobs, and more opportunity for all Americans. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we take on this challenge during the 114th Congress.”
Each of the bipartisan groups will work directly with the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation to produce an in-depth analysis of options and potential legislative solutions within its assigned area, with the goal of having one final comprehensive report featuring recommendations from each of the five categories completed by the end of May. The report recommendations, which will be delivered to Hatch and Wyden, will serve as a foundation for the development of bipartisan tax reform legislation.
The House Ways and Means Committee formed working groups in the previous Congress to develop tax reform recommendations that eventually went into a draft proposal that former Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp, R-Mich., issued before retiring last year.
[IMGCAP(2)]“We can all agree that that our broken tax code must be fixed in a way that makes it work for, not against, our country and economy,” said Wyden. “We need a simple and fair system that helps both typical Americans and business alike. A lot of hard work has been done in recent years on tax reform creating a strong foundation to build upon. We now have a window of opportunity to make a run at modernizing our tax code and it’s time to come together and deliver. It’s going to involve a lot of hard work and compromise and I’m hopeful this bipartisan effort will move us in that direction.”
The five working groups and their co-chairs are listed below:
Individual Income Tax Co-Chairs:
Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
Business Income Tax Co-Chairs:
John Thune, R-S.D., and Ben Cardin, D-Md.
Savings & Investment Co-Chairs:
Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio
International Tax Co-Chairs:
Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
Community Development & Infrastructure Co-Chairs:
Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)
“The tax code is too complex,” Grassley said in a statement. “Taxpayers shouldn’t have to hire a professional just to file their taxes. Congress should take on comprehensive tax reform that will increase fairness, reduce complexity and remove barriers to economic growth. I’m glad to offer my experience to this effort, and I’ll share the feedback I receive from Iowans all the time about their frustrations with the tax code.”
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