News Column

GOP Focuses on Obamacare Instead of Tax Reform

January 20, 2014

A prominent House Republican is facing an uphill climb in his quest to rewrite the U.S. tax code, aides familiar with the effort said Monday.

Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, has been working on a plan to reform the nation's Byzantine tax code for months behind closed doors. But the effort faces a sometimes skittish Republican caucus, factions of which have argued maintaining a lower election-year profile and allowing voters to focus on President Barack Obama's healthcare law instead.

The Hill said Camp's tax reform bid -- which is said to include reductions in both the top corporate and individual tax rates to 25 percent while eliminating trillions in special exemptions -- will face a crucial test later this month.

House Republicans are preparing for their annual retreat at the end of January in Cambridge, Md. Last year, the gathering served as a planning session for much of the party's 2013 agenda. If Camp wants to get tax reform on the list of things to do in 2014, he'll need to convince his rank-and-file colleagues it's a good idea.

"I think on any major reforms, moving from the concept car to a production model is always difficult," said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, a Camp ally on Ways and Means. "We've got to weigh how best we can take this message and these ideas to the American public. Because I think they're winning ideas."

Camp also faces a scheduling challenge. This is likely to be his last year as committee chairman and with an election looming, his colleagues will be spending less time in Washington and more time in their home districts campaigning. That leaves little time to get the complicated measure through the legislative process -- and onto a Democratic-controlled Senate where members have been hostile to tax reform.

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Original headline: GOP tax reform effort faces uphill battle



Source: Copyright 2014 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.