Newspaper article Roll Call

House Paves Way for Expedited Action on Tax Overhaul Next Year : Roll Call News

Newspaper article Roll Call

House Paves Way for Expedited Action on Tax Overhaul Next Year : Roll Call News

Article excerpt

In the final legislative sprint before the August recess, the House on Thursday advanced a bill that would set up a fast-track process (HR 2768) for a comprehensive overhaul of the tax code next year.

Lawmakers passed the Republican measure in a 232-189, mostly party-line vote. The bill would establish rules in the House and Senate for the expedited consideration of a tax overhaul measure expected to be introduced in the 113th Congress.

"We all agree that dramatic reform of our budget process is needed," said the measure's sponsor, David Dreier, R-Calif. "None of us looks at our skyrocketing deficit, anemic economic growth rate or persistent unemployment and thinks the status quo when it comes to the federal budget process is acceptable," the Rules panel chairman said.

But Democrats said that nothing about the bill - which was exclusively referred to the Rules Committee - was the product of bipartisan agreement (HR 2783).

"This is a very, very partisan bill," said Rules Committee member Jim McGovern, D-Mass. "I don't recall the gentleman ever reaching out and asking my opinion on what a bill like this should be about. Perhaps my invitation to join the discussion was lost in the mail."

McGovern said Dreier's words of "bipartisan, consensus and compromise" to describe the legislation "do not apply to what we're talking about here today."

Dreier shot back that he wanted to congratulate McGovern on "his very thoughtful, warm, and loving mischaracterization of where we stand on this issue." Dreier clarified that while the bill may not have been the product of bipartisanship, tax overhaul is a bipartisan goal.

Still, Ways and Means ranking Democrat Sander M. Levin of Michigan said the expedited process for a tax overhaul measure was a radical GOP proposal. "Under this bill, the pathway Republicans are setting up is really a railroad to shift the tax burden onto the middle class and shipping jobs overseas."

Some Process, Some Policy

The measure would require any committee to which the tax overhaul measure is reported to advance the measure within 20 calendar days of its introduction. …

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