GOP chairman: Tax system 'shell of its former self'

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the new chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, called the tax system shaped by the 1986 tax reforms in some ways “a shell of its former self.”

“In the intervening years, members of Congress — from both sides of the aisle — have loaded the tax code with a dizzying array of credits, deductions, exclusions and exemptions,” Camp said in prepared remarks at a Ways and Means hearing on tax reform. 

The congressman also said that he was under “no illusion” that overhauling the nation’s tax codes would be easy and reiterated that Thursday’s hearing would be just the first of many.


“To really reform the tax code in a way that lowers the tax rate, broadens the base and promotes the competitiveness of American companies, we will need to make some tough choices,” Camp said. “I don’t think this can be, nor should it be, a partisan exercise. And it cannot happen because just one chamber passes a bill. It will require the active participation of all members of this committee. It will require us to work with the administration. And yes, we will even have to talk to the Senate.”

At this early stage of the new Congress, the idea of tax reform has been endorsed by lawmakers in the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic Senate, as well as by President Obama. 

But it remains to be seen how the conversation on tax reform will evolve as lawmakers more fully consider the details of overhauling the tax code.