The House Ways and Means Committee chairman began meeting one-on-one last week with individual committee members to get feedback on the next steps for comprehensive tax reform, but admitted there is a significant amount of work to still before passing legislation this year.
"We've covered a lot of territory but I am certainly mindful on how much farther we have to go," Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., said at the annual policy seminar on Tuesday sponsored by BakerHostetler, the Federal Policy Group and the Yale Club of Washington, D.C. "We have many chapters to go."
Last November, Camp set forth a goal to pass comprehensive tax reform out of the House Ways and Means Committee by the end of 2013. He has also been holding weekly meetings with Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee about expediting the tax reform debate.
Camp said comprehensive tax reform can be accomplished in a revenue neutral way, but noted that there are differences between now and 1986, the last time the tax code was overhauled.
"Dan Rostenkowski and Bob Packwood weren't excited about tax reform," Camp said. "I am very excited and I will speak for Sen. Baucus that we are both very interested in pursuing tax reform. So obviously this is a very different model than it was in '86. There is a lot of potential difficulties going forward."
Camp vowed to close loopholes in the tax code but made clear that some items such as the charitable deduction and the mortgage interest deduction are not loopholes but federal policies. This position could prove beneficial for preserving tax exemption for municipal bonds.