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Thursday August 17, 2017

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Senate Pivots to Tax Reform

With the uncertain status of the health care debate, the Senate is now pivoting to potential tax reform. On July 18, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on tax reform.

Both Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) offered opening statements.

Hatch set forth the goals of tax reform as: "Fairness, efficiency, simplicity and American competiveness." He offered three reasons to move forward on tax reform. Hatch continued, "American families, individuals, and businesses collectively spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year—not to mention countless hours—simply trying to comply with the tax code. Tepid growth rates for the U.S. economy have seemingly become the new normal for some. America's multinational businesses find it difficult to compete abroad and are often targets for acquisition by foreign companies."

Wyden also set forth his hopes for tax reform. He noted, "What is needed is bipartisan tax reform that focuses on progressivity, helping the middle class, cleaning out flagrant tax loopholes, fiscal responsibility and giving everybody in America the chance to get ahead. In short, bipartisan tax reform would build on key principles that brought Democrats and Republicans together for major bipartisan tax reforms slightly more than three decades ago."

Witnesses before the Senate Finance Committee were four former Assistant Secretaries of the Treasury for Tax Policy. They held diverse opinions, but generally supported fairness for middle class taxpayers and strengthening the economy.

Published July 21, 2017

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