Comprehensive Tax Reform: Is a Bipartisan Deal Still Possible?

November 18, 2015

Just a few years ago, many people thought that comprehensive tax reform would be accomplished with a bipartisan deal — a “Kumbaya” moment when President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner would join hands to remake the US tax code.

But Politico tax reporter Bernie Becker reports that the talk around tax reform these days carries a more partisan tone. Republicans such as new Speaker Paul Ryan and Kevin Brady, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, say that a comprehensive plan will depend on a Republican takeover of the White House in 2016. Meanwhile, the Democrats’ focus is on raising taxes on the wealthy.

Becker doesn’t entirely close the door on bipartisan prospects, noting the talks between Ryan Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on international tax reform. He writes that “there are plenty of tax observers who think the talk about needing full GOP control for comprehensive tax reform is more of a campaign tactic — that, as Sen. Ron Wyden put it, you need both sides to buy in for tax reform to really happen.”

And it’s not clear exactly what a partisan deal would look like.

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