Senators: Put tax reform timeline in debt deal, end stalemate

A bipartisan pair of senators pushing for a broad tax overhaul is calling on top policymakers to include a timeline for reform in any deficit reduction deal.

Sens. Ron WydenRon WydenThe Hill's 12:30 Report Tim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Dems push for US, EU cooperation on China's market status MORE (D-Ore.) and Dan CoatsDan CoatsMcAuliffe: I wouldn't want a 'caretaker' in Kaine's Senate seat Indiana GOP taps lieutenant governor to replace Pence GOP rallies to Trump's 'law and order' message after Baton Rouge MORE (R-Ind.) acknowledge that it would be practically impossible to revamp the tax code by the Aug. 2 debt-ceiling deadline. 

But the two senators also told President Obama, House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerDem drops out of race for Boehner's old seat Conservative allies on opposite sides in GOP primary fight Clinton maps out first 100 days MORE (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidMeet the rising Dem star positioned to help Clinton on gun control Reid: Congress should return 'immediately' to fight Zika Classified briefings to begin for Clinton, Trump MORE (D-Nev.) that reform could be completed by the end of the year, not to mention help light a fire under the economy.

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“Tax reform can move us beyond this partisan stalemate. Done right, it will create good-paying jobs and provide businesses and families with the certainty they need to plan for the future,” the two senators wrote in a letter dated Wednesday. “There’s no better way to raise revenue and reduce the deficit than by growing the economy and putting Americans back to work.”

That message was dropped during another day when taxes took center stage in the deficit reduction debate, with House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorThree strategies to help Clinton build 'Team of Teams' David Brat may run for Senate if Kaine becomes VP The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE telling reporters that Republicans would consider getting rid of certain tax breaks – as long as it was accomplished in a revenue-neutral way.

On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMuslim DNC speaker challenges GOP leaders to call Trump out Peter Thiel does not make the GOP pro-gay Reid: Trump is a 'hateful con man' MORE pooh-poohed Cantor’s suggestion, saying it would be difficult to “cherry-pick items” during the current negotiations.

Wyden and Coats introduced a comprehensive tax reform bill earlier this year that would slash the corporate tax rate to 24 percent (from its current 35 percent), while also thinning the number of individual tax brackets down to three.

Wyden, a longtime fan of the 1986 tax reform, introduced similar legislation in the last Congress with then-Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.). In their Wednesday letter, he and Coats also say that a tax overhaul can be part of a solution that hits at the heart of America’s fiscal problems, instead of messing around at the margins. 

“Resolving the nation’s debt crisis demands comprehensive, structural change, including tax reform,” they wrote.