Hoyer: Tax reform can't lose revenue

In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Hoyer said that Washington should examine reducing the complexity of the tax code, but added that increased revenue would need to be part of any plan to bring down a deficit the Congressional Budget Office now estimates will grow to $1.5 trillion this year.

“We've got to increase revenue, because right now, we are at the lowest level of tax collections of revenues we've been in over a half a century,” Hoyer said. 

Hoyer has been on record backing tax reform several times in recent months, as have other lawmakers and officials from both sides of the aisle. 

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But the issue over whether a tax reform package must be revenue-neutral, as President Obama called for in the State of the Union address, has emerged as a potential roadblock. Some Republican lawmakers and business leaders have asserted that a tax reform package should be more worried about competitiveness than revenue, at least in the early stages. 

In his Bloomberg interview, Hoyer also expressed some skepticism about potential cuts in both the House Republicans’ proposal to roll back spending this year and the president’s 2012 budget plan.

The minority whip mentioned education and healthcare as areas where he thought Republicans would look to cut, as well as the president’s reported proposal to cut a program that provides heating assistance for the poor. 

Still, Hoyer also declared that the country “has got to get a handle” on the deficit and needed to cut spending.

“We, frankly, have to look across the board at revenues, entitlements, defense, discretionary spending,” he said.