Top House tax writer opposes administration’s debt commission

House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) blasted the creation of President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama to visit Kenya, South Africa for Obama Foundation in July Overnight Energy: EPA declines to write new rule for toxic spills | Senate blocks move to stop Obama water rule | EPA bought 'tactical' pants and polos Clarifying the power of federal agencies could offer Trump a lasting legacy MORE’s debt commission and questioned its constitutionality since the panel could replace Congress in making tax new law.
 
“If they expand the idea of a commission, it could reach the point that you don’t need the Congress,” he said. “I think it is a bad thing constitutionally, I really do.”
 

ADVERTISEMENT
Senate Finance Chairman Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusClients’ Cohen ties become PR liability Green Party puts Dem seat at risk in Montana Business groups worried about Trump's China tariffs plan MORE (D-Mont.) also opposed legislation creating a debt panel, which never passed Congress. His office did not respond to inquiries on whether the chairman supported a panel created by the White House.
 
Obama on Thursday signed an executive order creating a commission tasked with reining in the national debt.  The 18-member panel is expected to be bipartisan and will be headed by former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles.
 
Its primary objective will be creating legislative solutions to reduce the $1.56 trillion deficit, which threatens to balloon in future years as baby-boomers retire in droves and draw from retirement entitlement accounts already weakened by the country’s financial state.
 
Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidAmendments fuel resentments within Senate GOP Donald Trump is delivering on his promises and voters are noticing Danny Tarkanian wins Nevada GOP congressional primary MORE (D-Nev.) will seek a vote on their suggestions even though he is not legally bound to do so, his staff said. 
 
“Senator Reid has committed to place the commission's recommendations on the Senate's legislative calendar before the end of the 111th Congress and filing cloture on the motion to proceed,” the staffer said. “If we get the 60 votes needed to proceed, Reid has also committed to filling the amendment tree and filing cloture so that people cannot cherry pick apart the commission's recommendations.”
 
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) could also host a vote on suggestions by the panel.
 
“The president’s fiscal commission represents another step forward in our effort to restore discipline to the budget process,” she said in prepared remarks Thursday.
 
An obvious fix for the fiscal mess facing the country is for the commission to create a tax code that raises enough revenue for all governmental outlays – a duty normally charged to committees headed by Rangel and Baucus. Both chairman have tried for years to tackle this issue.
 
“I want to bring down the corporate rate, I really do,” Rangel said. “I think it will make us more competitive, it will help with trade issues.”
 
In 2007, the New York Congressman introduced tax reform legislation that lowered the corporate rate. It failed to gain traction largely because it levied a surtax on high-income earners. Since then, there has been little committee activity on the reform front.
 
Baucus also scheduled several hearing on tax reform, but were abandoned as healthcare reform took center stage. Finance member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenScrutiny ramps up over Commerce secretary's stock moves Hillicon Valley: Justices require warrants for cellphone location data | Amazon employees protest facial recognition tech sales | Uber driver in fatal crash was streaming Hulu | SpaceX gets contract to launch spy satellite On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Supreme Court allows states to collect sales taxes from online retailers | Judge finds consumer bureau structure unconstitutional | Banks clear Fed stress tests MORE (D-Ore.) will reintroduce the subject of tax reform on Tuesday when he unveils legislation co-authored by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.). Sources say its corporate tax rate will be lower than the 28 percent sought by Rangel.
 
“When Congress returns next week, we will be introducing the product of our collaboration: a comprehensive tax reform bill that will make the federal tax code simpler and fairer for all Americans and businesses of every size,” Wyden said in prepared remarks.
 
If Reid allows a vote on panel suggestions, it could be deemed as another blow to Baucus. The Majority Leader recently scrapped an $85 billion jobs bill created by the Montana senator and Finance ranking Republican Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley wants to subpoena Comey, Lynch after critical IG report Senate Dems call for Judiciary hearing on Trump's 'zero tolerance' Republicans agree — it’s only a matter of time for Scott Pruitt MORE (Iowa) to introduce his own, narrowly-focus package containing tax cuts and infrastructure spending.