House GOP sets out plan for tax reform in early 2013

House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) and 22 other House Republicans introduced legislation on Tuesday that sets out guidelines for a major tax reform bill, and expedited procedures for moving that bill in early 2013.

The bill, H.R. 6169, calls for the development of legislation that simplifies the tax code, creates no more than two tax brackets for individuals, reduces the corporate tax rate to no more than 25 percent, repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax and broadens the tax base to maintain current revenue levels.

The bill is very specific, calling for individual tax brackets of 10 percent for lower income earners, and "not more than 25 percent" for others.

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The legislation declares that it's time for tax reform because the current tax code is growing more complicated, and unfairly benefits some over others.

"The tax code is unfair, containing hundreds of provisions that only benefit certain special interests, resulting in a system of winners and losers," it finds. "The tax code violates the fundamental principle of equal justice by subjecting families in similar circumstances to significantly different tax bills."

It also highlights the growth of so-called "tax expenditures," which both parties have described as tax rules that effectively spend taxpayer money through the tax code. Dreier's bill says in some cases, this happens directly.

"In some cases, tax subsidies can literally take the form of spending through the tax code, redistributing taxes paid by some Americans to individuals and businesses who do not pay any income taxes at all," the bill reads.

Aside from describing the goals of tax reform, the Pathway to Job Creation through a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code Act sets out a path for moving a reform bill early next year. Under the bill, a tax measure meeting the standards of reform would be introduced by the Ways and Means Committee by April 30, 2013, and would then benefit from expedited procedures in both the House and Senate.

For example, it would allow the bill to be discharged from any committee within 20 days after it is referred to that committee, if the committee has failed to consider it. It also includes language streamlining and speeding up floor consideration in both the House and Senate.

The House is expected to approve Dreier's bill next week, along with a bill that extends the Bush-era tax levels for all taxpayers, regardless of income level.

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