As the summer continues to roll on, lawmakers in Washington have continued to heat up the discussion surrounding comprehensive tax reform. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, along with President Trump, have recently come out to voice their desire to move forward with overhauling a tax system that was last reformed three decades ago. Tax reform has bipartisan support – to varying degrees – and most lawmakers agree that action needs to take place this year to pass tax reform.
The “Big Six” leaders – Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the speaker of the House; Kevin Brady of Texas, the House Ways and Means Committee chairman; Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate majority leader; Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, the Senate Finance Committee chairman; Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary; and Gary D. Cohn, the National Economic Council director – recently released a joint statement with their unified position on tax reform. In their statement, the GOP leaders made it clear that their priorities include permanence, helping reduce the tax burden on middle class and working American families, simplifying the tax process for small businesses, and moving to a more competitive international tax system.
Senate Democrats sent a letter to President Trump, Majority Leader McConnell, and Committee Chairman Hatch outlining their views and hopes for the process of tax reform. The letter, signed by 45 Democratic Senators, called for a bipartisan approach to tax reform, and iterated the minority party’s hope to see middle class job growth, and increased wages for working families. Both Democrats and Republicans agree on quite a bit when it comes to tax reform, and this should help shepherd in the reform that both parties want.
A top priority for both Democrats and Republicans is ensuring that any tax reform bill is not merely effective in the short term. Temporary tax cuts would be insufficient to relieve the current burden felt by American taxpayers. The “Big Six” statement made it clear that their position on tax reform “places a priority on permanence,” and the letter from Senate Democrats voices their desire for “lasting reform.”
Not only do lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree on goals – helping the middle class, bringing American businesses back from overseas, legitimate and meaningful simplification – but they also agree on the need to work together. Republicans and Democrats called for tax reform to go through regular order, working in a bipartisan effort. The “Big Six” stated that they hope their “friends on the other side of the aisle will participate in the effort,” while Senate Democrats wrote, addressing the President, Senate Majority Leader, and House Finance Committee Chair, their “interest in working with [them] on bipartisan tax reform.”
Already we are seeing progress towards a comprehensive overhaul of our tax system. Chairman Hatch stated recently that the committee will have a tax reform markup after recess, and that he plans to hold multiple hearings on overhauling the tax code. Hatch has stated that he hopes to work with members from the other side of the aisle, moving forward in a bipartisan fashion to create significant, and lasting tax reform. Ranking member Ron Wyden has said that he welcomed the chance to work together on tax reform. This is an encouraging step towards the major tax reform that our country so needs, and the White House hopes to have a bill signed this very year.
With a desire for bipartisan cooperation on the issue, a bill that properly addresses the stifling tax system that affects taxpayers and businesses is possible. The current discourse on tax reform points to comprehensive and permanent tax reform that helps boost the middle class and small businesses coming soon.