Senate Finance Committee moving forward with tax reform chats

Senate Finance Committee members from both parties will start a new set of meetings next week as they push to craft an overhaul of the tax code.

Finance members will first meet on March 21 to discus how to simplify the tax code, with future meetings to touch on small businesses, education, income and tax structures, and the charitable-giving deduction.

The end goal of the meetings is to craft a tax reform plan through regular congressional order that would spur the economy and make life simpler for families, according to Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the panel’s ranking member, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

“Improving the tax code — updating it for the 21st century — can provide America a real shot in the arm,” Baucus, who is up for reelection in 2014, said in a statement.

“We will collect input and feedback from all members and take on this challenge working together. Tax reform is sure to be a challenge, but one we are ready to take on.”

The Finance meetings come as the tax-writing panel on the other side of the Capitol, the House Ways and Means Committee, has set up working groups to discuss various areas that could be affected by tax reform.

Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) has also released three separate draft proposals on tax reform over the last 18 months.

Still, even as tax writers from both parties remain committed to tax reform, both sides also acknowledge the challenge in rewriting the code.

Just this week, House Republicans and Senate Democrats released budget blueprints with vastly different visions on the revenue side.

The House GOP plan looks to lower the top corporate and individual rates to 25 percent, and opposes new tax revenues. Senate Democrats, on the other hand, have proposed $975 billion in new revenues.

“By bringing members of the Finance Committee together, we can hopefully move from just talking about tax reform and bring together consensus ideas to bring real reform to bear that American families and businesses rightly deserve,” Hatch said in a statement.