Senate Finance restarts tax reform debate

The Senate Finance Committee is gearing up yet again for a crack at comprehensive tax reform.

Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced a slate of summer hearings devoted to a tax code overhaul, underlining their renewed effort at taking on the massive project.

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“This summer, the Senate Finance Committee will forge ahead with hearings that examine reforming the broken, dysfunctional tax code in areas ranging from taxpayer privacy protection to education to corporate taxation,” the pair said in a statement. “When it comes to tax policy, comprehensive tax reform is our ultimate objective, and we are committed to using these hearings as the building blocks to that goal.”

In June, the committee will devote a hearing to education tax incentives, while July has hearings scheduled for taxpayer protection and modernizing the corporate code.

The hearings could serve as an effective reset button for the tax reform debate, as the primary players in the last push head for the exits. The previous heads of Congress’s tax-writing committee vowed to take on tax reform but failed to make any headway.

Wyden has already replaced former Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), now ambassador to China. And Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has announced his plans to retire at the end of the current Congress.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), current head of the House Budget Committee, has said he is interested in taking Camp’s spot in 2015.

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