Rangel to press for major tax overhaul

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) will press Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner this week on supporting a major overhaul of the tax system in 2010.

Rangel told corporate executives attending a tax conference in Washington that he was trying to “persuade” Geithner and members of his committee that they would serve Congress and the country better “if we reform the tax system that we have.”

“As a legislator, I can’t think of anything more important for my committee to do,” Rangel told the audience attending the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Global Tax Symposium.

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Rangel said he would start his campaign after Congress completes its healthcare debate, but that in the meantime he could “negotiate” certain things with Geithner. Rangel said he has the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in those negotiations.

Rangel has introduced tax legislation that would lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 30 percent. His bill would pay for that lost revenue by eliminating a number of other tax breaks, including a provision that allows companies to defer taxes on income their subsidiaries overseas earn.

President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaWhere's the outrage over Obama's fake news peddling? Man who plotted to kill Obama sentenced to 30 years Overnight Tech: FCC eyes cybersecurity role | More trouble for spectrum auction | Google seeks 'conservative outreach' director MORE supports that change, but has not called for a reduction in the corporate rate.

Rangel’s legislation could be boosted next year by the expiration of some of former President George W. Bush’s tax cuts.

But Rangel’s efforts may be hampered by ethics questions that continue to swirl around him. Rangel is under investigation by the House ethics panel for several issues, including unpaid taxes on a home in the Dominican Republic and his acceptance of several rent-controlled apartments in Harlem.

Rangel said that he hoped he would have a better idea by the end of the year about the amount of cooperation he would receive from the administration on a tax reform bill next year.

Rangel said there were a number of obstacles to major tax reform legislation, including other controversial bills fighting for the attention of lawmakers, and an economic climate in which Congress and the White House are focused on job creation.