This month, two Congressional Committees – the House Ways and Means Committee (the tax-writing committee) and the Senate Finance Committee — held hearings on tax reform with testimony from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX-8) started off their hearing stating, “Today, our Committee is focused on a top priority for the American people – pro-growth tax reform that will create jobs, increase paychecks, and strengthen our nation’s economy. America now has one of the costliest, unfair, and uncompetitive tax systems in the world. The need for pro-growth tax reform is urgent.”
The hearings were an encouraging sign that Congress has kick-started legislative efforts on tax reform. Congressional members on both sides of the aisle seem to agree that simplifying the tax code, setting a competitive business rate, and closing loopholes are important tax reform initiatives that will create jobs, increase wages, and increase investment – all of which benefit small business and middle-class families.
However, these hearings lacked a critical discussion: committing to a timeline to getting tax reform done this year.
President Trump and Republican members of Congress campaigned and were elected on promises to make completing tax reform and jump-starting the economy their priorities. They now have an opportunity in 2017 to achieve pro-growth tax reform that may not come again.
But the clock is ticking, the days waning, for Congress to craft and pass legislation at the Capitol, amidst other issues on their agenda, including the budget and health care.
A few Congressional members expressed their concern for the lack of urgency and willingness to compromise, as Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH-2) stated, “we can no longer let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
Congress must commit to a timeline for passing tax reform legislation that as Representative Brady puts it will, “leapfrog America from dead last among our global competitors back into the lead pack of the most pro-growth tax systems on earth.” Small businesses and families cannot wait any longer for tax reform.