By Justin Sink
Tax reform legislation and a long-term highway bill “are in the realm of doable” during President Obama’s final two years in office, Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerConservative allies on opposite sides in GOP primary fight Clinton maps out first 100 days The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ohio) said Sunday.
“I think the conversation's pretty straightforward,” Boehner told ABC News’s “This Week.” “Mr. president, you've got two years left. Want to have two years like we've had the last four years where we just butt heads and butt heads and butt heads?”
“I didn't come to Washington to make noise,” Boehner added. “I went there to do something on behalf of my country. And I think the president ran for office to do something on behalf of the country.”
In August, the president signed a $10.8 billion measure that will fund highway and bridge repairs for the next ten months. The short-term measure will set up a dramatic fight next year over how to best fund highway and bridge repairs down the line.
At the time, Obama said Congress "shouldn't pat itself on the back for averting disaster for a few months, kicking the can down the road for a few months, careening from crisis to crisis when it comes to something as basic as our infrastructure.”
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx also said he was “disappointed” that bridge and highway repairs would again be endangered.
"This latest band-aid expires right as the next construction season begins, setting up another crisis next spring," Foxx said
Both the president and Republicans have also signaled a willingness to reform the corporate tax code, although wide gulfs exist between proposals to best do so.
The president has said he would lower corporate tax rates from 35 to 28 percent in exchange for boosting spending on jobs and infrastructure programs. The administration would also allow small businesses to write off as much as $1 million in investments, and would allow companies to repatriate earnings to the U.S. subject to a “transition fee.”
But Republicans have said any plan needs to be revenue neutral and think any additional tax dollars collected under the plan should be applied to lowering tax rates overall.
And some Republicans say the president’s move last week to unilaterally tweak Treasury Department rules to discourage companies from moving their headquarters overseas to avoid taxes might stall reform efforts.
“The Obama Administration's limited action on inversions might take the pressure off for tax reform," Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement.