McConnell: No path for tax reform

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday all but declared tax reform dead in the current session of Congress.

The Republican said the insistence of President Obama and Senate Democrats on raising revenue through the process has "stymied" the attempt to simplify the code.

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"Honestly I don't see how we get there," McConnell said. "It's pretty clear that the president has even walked away now from the commitment he made to us at lunch that corporate tax reform would be revenue-neutral."

Obama in a speech in Tennessee this week proposed what he termed a new "grand bargain" on corporate tax reform that cuts rates, but also allows for increased spending on infrastructure. Republicans quickly dismissed it as a phony compromise.

"I think we're stymied by the desire of the majority to raise taxes again," McConnell said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that any tax reform would have to raise "significant" levels of revenue to be viable. He did not say it had to raise a specific amount, but said the $975 billion over 10 years outlined in the Senate budget is a good start.

Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who is driving the tax reform effort in the Senate, opposed the budget in part because he did not want to be tied to a revenue raising number.

"We start with Sen. Murray's number from the Budget Committee — whether we wind up there remains to be seen," Reid told reporters. "It has to be significant revenue."

Reid blamed the GOP for blocking tax reform.

"Unless the Republican party becomes functional again ... we're here slugging it out about nothing," Reid said.