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Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has a lot on his plate in 2017: Health care reform and trade being two items.
Another major item is comprehensive tax reform. No major reform of the tax code has taken place since the 1980s, and Sen. Hatch is eager to work on it.
Last week, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) discussed his vision for reform at the U.S. Chamber. In the same venue, Sen. Hatch was optimistic in his outlook for progress (from his prepared remarks):
The first thing I’ll say on tax reform is that Republicans are united in our commitment to reform our nation’s broken tax system.
And, now, we have an administration that wants to work with Congress to fix the myriad problems in our tax code and a Congress that is ready to get it done. I don’t think we could ask for better conditions.
The media loves to write stories about disagreements among Republicans. But, on tax reform, that divide really doesn’t exist. Indeed, Republicans in both Congress and the White House agree on virtually every fundamental tax reform question.
For example, Republicans agree that tax reform should be pro-growth, comprehensive, and should address both the individual and business tax systems.
Republicans agree on the need to simplify the tax system by reducing the number of special interest credits and deductions and creating fewer tax brackets.
Republicans, by and large, agree that we need a fairer tax system that treats similarly situated taxpayers similarly and picks fewer winners and losers. Also, on the point of fairness, most Republicans support repeal or reform of the Death Tax.
And, Republicans agree that we need to make our nation more competitive by reducing corporate rates and moving to a territorial tax system.
The fundamental principles Sen. Hatch laid out fall squarely in line with what our economy needs. We need pro-growth, comprehensive tax reform that lowers tax rates for all businesses and shifts to an internationally competitive system. And most importantly, it must encourage the economic growth that creates jobs and encourages investment.
Sen. Hatch said he has “every reason to be optimistic that we can work through the details as the process moves forward.”