Americans will reap the benefits of bipartisan approach on tax reform

Americans will reap the benefits of bipartisan approach on tax reform
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In many respects, tax reform could truly be a miracle drug for our economy — providing a needed boost for the hardest-working Americans who would see more money in their pockets and opportunities for new jobs grow.

It’s a jobs package on steroids. But there is only one way to accomplish tax reform that does all that: It must be truly and completely bipartisan.

Because of the complex rules that govern the lifespan of some legislative packages, any tax reform deal that doesn’t give both parties concrete wins is at risk of being undone after future elections. Put bluntly, if there isn’t political buy-in from Democrats and Republicans, the reforms are essentially temporary.


That would be inherently bad for business — and for working families.

One thing I hear over-and-over again is how businesses need certainty. That to grow, they need the ability to plan ahead for five, 10, 15 and even 20 years in the future. That kind of security can’t be accomplished if either party attempts to jam through a partisan tax reform bill.

We have to work together — each offering compromise — for the country to see the most gains.

While it sounds lofty, it’s been done before. The successful tax code overhaul in 1986 saw each party give a little to achieve compromise that all sides were ultimately invested in. This multi-year, bipartisan and comprehensive model should be the goal for any reform effort attempted in the modern day.

But the signals we’ve received from the White House and congressional Republicans indicate that the GOP views tax reform as a go it alone effort. Case in point: The White House’s tax reform outline. It was released without any outreach to Democrats or any real attempt to incorporate congressional priorities into the fold.

As proposed, this outline would blow such a massive hole in the country’s deficit it would force political leaders to gut Medicare and Medicaid to accomplish the drastic cuts President Trump promised.


Tax reform is needed, but stripping seniors, veterans and children of access to essential care is not the way to do it.

Democrats instead want tax reform that is marked by common sense — the best proposals incorporated but nothing that would devastate American families. Our goal is finding a reform deal that will both help workers and gives businesses the ability to grow in the U.S. and the flexibility to plan ahead.

There are five tests I, and my fellow Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee, will use to weigh any final proposal. Is the deal fairer, simpler, more efficient, fiscally responsible and, finally, does it promote economic growth in the U.S.?

If those ideals can be met, tax reform will be lasting and successful.

But before we begin negotiations on any code overhaul, President Trump must release his tax returns. This might sound like a partisan plea, but it is far from it. Without the transparency that his tax returns would provide, the American people will have no idea if President Trump is putting their best interests or his own first in any negotiations.

 The desire to reform the tax code brings Democrats and Republicans together like few other issues in Washington. If we work together to accomplish a comprehensive overhaul, every American will see the benefits. There is no doubt it will be a complex and long process, but it will ultimately lead to a fundamental change in our economy.

Just one question remains: Will Republicans return to the days of bipartisanship and cooperation on tax reform, or will they continue their isolated approach? 


Crowley represents the 14th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and serves as chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives. The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.