GOP lawmaker: Tax code needs comprehensive reform

Rep. Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackLamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee Juan Williams: The GOP's worsening problem with women How to reform the federal electric vehicle tax credit MORE (R-Tenn.) on Monday criticized the White House for the tax plan President Obama is set to outline in his State of the Union Address, saying it doesn’t amount to comprehensive tax reform.

“We can’t just take one piece of that code and just punch at it. That’s what’s been done for too many years since 1986. You really need comprehensive tax reform — both corporate and individual,” Black said on CNN’s “New Day.”

On Saturday, the White House released elements of the plan Obama is going to ask Congress to approve during his address Tuesday evening.


The plan would raise taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers and the largest financial firms while providing tax breaks to the middle class. Obama wants the government to charge financial firms a fee to discourage risky borrowing and raise capital gains on inherited assets. 

Republicans immediately dismissed the proposal as a nonstarter.

Black, a member of the House Budget Committee and the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, acknowledged that under former Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Republicans offered a similar proposal on big banks. 

“We’re not so far off on that,” Black said about that piece of Obama’s plan. “But it’s through comprehensive reform by simplifying the entire code.” 

Black said the U.S. needs a tax code that’s “fairer, flatter and simpler,” and tackling it piecemeal wouldn’t accomplish everything.

“What you may do on one side will give you an opportunity to reduce a tax on the other side,” she said. “By just punching at one, again, you’re just taking a very complicated tax code and making it more complicated by doing that.” 

Last week, Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race McCabe: No one in 'Gang of Eight' objected to FBI probe into Trump Unscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden MORE (R-Wis.), the new chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said during the GOP retreat in Hershey, Pa., that the House wouldn’t pass an increase in the gas tax. 

On top of that, he admitted the differences between Republicans and Obama would prevent a “full-throttle” revamp of the tax code, Bloomberg News reported.