Camp: GOP tax writer joking about resistance to reform

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said Thursday that he thought a GOP tax writer who said Republicans had pushed back at Camp's tax-reform proposals was joking.

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Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), a member of the panel, said at a Bloomberg Government breakfast that "there was some screaming and gnashing of teeth" about some of Camp's early drafts.

"I think he was trying to be funny and have a little humor," Camp told The Hill on Thursday.

Still, the Ways and Means chairman — who has struggled to get GOP leaders to support his efforts to move forward on tax reform — didn't seem thrilled by Schock's comments.

"This has been a collaborative effort by the members of the committee, and bipartisan," Camp said. "We need a little more humor, but not necessarily at the expense of the committee."

A spokesman for Schock did not respond to a request for comment. 

According to Bloomberg, Schock said at the breakfast that Camp made changes to his tax reform proposal following input from Republicans on the tax committee, but declined to delve into any details.

Camp had vowed to mark up a tax-reform bill in 2013, but was unable to even release a draft overhaul last year. He has suggested that he wants to release a bill early this year, but declined to lay out a timetable.

House GOP leaders had made tax reform a priority this Congress, giving it the symbolic H.R. 1 designation. But top Republicans also decided late last year that they didn't want to push any priorities that could take attention away from the troubled rollout of President Obama's healthcare law.

Plus, Democrats and Republicans remain divided over whether a rewritten tax code should raise more revenue, and Senate Democratic leaders have at times brushed aside Finance Chairman Max Baucus's (D-Mont.) efforts on tax reform.

That left some in the House wary of moving on a tax bill that would limit popular deductions.

Obama announced he would nominate Baucus to be his envoy to China last month, further complicating the push for tax reform.