House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., told reporters on November 13 that he still hopes to have comprehensive tax reform pass his committee before the end of the 1st session of the 113th Congress in December. Camp plans to meet with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Eric Cantor, D-Va., on November 14 to discuss the timing of the release of his tax-reform legislation. Camp has already released three tax reform draft documents and completed a nationwide tour with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., over the summer of 2013. However, the government shutdown in early October and the dwindling number of legislative days left may force Camp to delay his plans to complete a markup of the legislation.
Moreover, consideration of comprehensive tax reform legislation could move the GOP off their continuing focus on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (P.L. 111-148) and the troubled rollout of http://www.HealthCare.gov , the website used to enroll in health care plans. On November 15, House lawmakers will take up their next effort to change the health care law by voting on the Keep Your Health Plan Bill of 2013 (HR 3350), introduced by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. The legislation is a response to the millions of Americans in the individual insurance market who have received policy cancellation notices and cannot enroll in new insurance while the website is under repair.
Meanwhile, Democrats on the Ways and Means panel say they have been left out of the talks on tax reform, which they say will need bipartisan support in order to reach the president’s desk. Ranking member Sander Levin, D-Mich., recently sent a sharply worded letter to Camp complaining about the lack of Democratic involvement in developing tax reform legislation. Levin also charged that the committee has spent too much time dealing with the controversy surrounding IRS screening of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status and on attempts to defund or delay the PPACA.
By Stephen K. Cooper, CCH News Staff