Tax reform not a waste of time

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) admitted earlier this week, in a press briefing before the State of the Union, that Republicans are no longer committed to pushing tax reform this year because the effort might be a waste of time.

"There's a debate going on about whether we can get to the kind tax reform we want given the outcome of the election," Boehner said, adding that the GOP would "love" to simplify the code and lower rates for all. Yet, in doubting the end result, Boehner is questioning the merits of the effort, and asked "why go through all of that effort if it isn't going anywhere, or why go through that effort if the outcome would be unacceptable?"

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But as soon as the votes were counted in November's elections, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp (R-Mich.) announced the party would move ahead with its own bill.

"Tax reform is more necessary now that it was in 1986, and that is why the Ways and Means Committee will write, act on and pass comprehensive tax reform legislation in 2013," Camp said in a speech less than two weeks after the election.

Camp had been waiting for years to see a Republican president elected who would sign expansive tax reform that would lower rates on all earners. He still intends to push ahead, he told The Hill this week, saying while the leadership's commitment hasn't changed, that Boehner was "verbalizing the reality that it's a difficult thing to do, but most important things are difficult."

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) also told The Hill "We're going to do it this year. That's all I'll say."
 
Obama's victory doesn't mean Boehner and his rank and file can wait to do the right thing. The Republican majority in the House needs to lead, and to govern, no matter its vote margins, the makeup of or obstruction in the Senate, or even the president's own plans on tax reform. They should draft tax reform, pass it out of the House and run on it.

Blowing it off, and only voting against bills they oppose, gives them little argument to be elected to a majority again in 2014.


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