WASHINGTON — House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said that the House will push forward on tax reform regardless if the Senate follows or not.
“We want tax reform as a means of growing the economy,” Ryan said here at the Peterson Foundation fourth annual fiscal summit. “What that means to us is lowering tax rates. When we’re talking about tax reform, something we are going to be moving through the Ways and Means Committee and something we are very serious about. Something we’d like to see from an agreement.”
Ryan’s comments come one day before the 11 House Ways and Means tax reform working group will present their findings from examining different areas of the tax code to the full committee. The tax reform working groups have been reviewing various options for reform in all aspects of the code since February, when the groups were first created by Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and ranking member Rep. Sandy Levin, D-Mich.
Republicans and Democrats are at loggerheads over whether or not tax reform should be revenue natural. Republicans want to reduce the top income tax rate of 39.6% while Democrats and the White House have proposed taxing the wealthiest Americans, including to cap the value of tax exemption at a 28% rate, among some of the larger differences between the parties.
Ryan said that he doesn’t believe there will be any type of so-called “grand bargain” on deficit reduction but he was optimistic that there could be an opportunity for a bipartisan agreement on tax reform that creates economic growth. He also said that when his party goes to conference, he wants to make sure they have a chance at getting something done whether that’s on tax reform, deficit reduction or a budget.
“Our country is tired of Congress managing by crisis,” said Senate Budget Committee chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., at the summit, charging that Republicans have been managing by crisis and ultimately put the country in a bad place.
Immediately following her appearance at the fiscal summit, she delivered a speech and called on Senate Republicans to allow the Senate to move to conference with the House and continue budget negotiations under regular order. “We now have an opportunity to move through regular order to try to get a bipartisan budget agreement, and we should seize it,” Murray said.
The Senate passed a budget for the first time in four years in March. The House also passed a budget in March but both parties are at an impasse on how to move forward on their respective proposals.