Ryan: Watch for GOP tax reform

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The House Ways and Means Committee might have missed its target of passing a tax overhaul in 2013, but Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said it hopes to do so “in the first quarter of next year.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Ryan, a member of the panel who could be its next chairman, said he was “hopeful” about moving tax reform in an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“Watch the Ways and Means Committee in the first quarter of next year,” Ryan said. “We’re going to be advancing tax reform legislation because we think that’s a key ingredient to getting people back to work, to increasing take-home pay and to growing this economy.”

The committee’s current chairman, Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), has made tax reform his top priority, but Republican Party leaders have been hesitant about unveiling major legislation that could create political challenges for members by eliminating popular deductions to reduce rates.

Camp continues to work with his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Max Baucus (Mont.), but there is skepticism that an issue as contentious as tax reform will move forward in an election.

Appearing with Ryan, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said Democrats also want to accomplish tax reform, but the critical question of whether it would raise tax revenue for the government was immediately brought up.

“We’ll have a disagreement about that,” Ryan said with a chuckle.

Ryan and Murray appeared together to promote the two-year budget agreement they struck last week.

“This isn’t a large agreement, but it’s a symbolically large agreement,” Ryan said. He added: “You’ve got to crawl before you can walk before you can run.”

While both lawmakers said they hoped it could lead to more compromises between Republicans and Democrats, they dismissed the notion of a “grand bargain” anytime soon. Murray said such an agreement on taxes and spending was “impossible to find at this point,” and Ryan said it was unlikely to occur while President Obama remained in the White House.

More in Blog Briefing Room

Paul Ryan: Romney's decision 'bittersweet'

Read more »