House Ways and Means Committee chair Dave Camp is prepared to release his tax code reform plan on Wednesday, but some Republicans would prefer he didn't. In an election year when the GOP thinks it can keep the House and take the Senate, some Republican lawmakers are worried that a big policy discussion will distract from the end goal. But it's Camp's last year as chairman, and he's determined to put his plan on the floor.
Jake Sherman and Lauren French at Politico report,
From moderates to conservatives, senior Republican aides to rank-and-file legislative hands, there are serious concerns about Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s plans to unveil politically sensitive plans to restructure the Tax Code just a touch more than eight months before Election Day.
Republicans generally agree on the content of Camp's plan. It would make the tax system remarkably simpler by collapsing seven existing brackets into two. A GOP aide familiar with the plan told The Washington Post, "99 percent of all filers are going to be subject to a rate of 25 percent or less." This means that the top income tax rate will be slashed from about 40 percent to 25 percent. But households earning more than $450,000 will be subject to a 10 percent surtax.
These reforms match those that House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan called for in 2013. So why are Republicans balking?
As the Post explains, many are "worried that any simplification plan would have to trim popular tax breaks such as the deduction for home mortgage interest — a disadvantage in an election year." The Republican leadership isn't actively supporting Camp's plan, but they aren't preventing him from proposing it, either. Last week, when Camp confirmed he would release the plan, one leadership aide told Politico,
No one in leadership offices is "doing back flips that he’s doing this. It’s just, at this point, what’s the point of telling him 'no' if this is what he wants to do and he thinks this is going to sell it?"
When Camp releases his plan on Wednesday, the leadership could get more vocal. But not all House members are against working with Camp, however. Republican Reps. Devin Nunes and Charles Boustany have both spoken out in favor of working with Camp in the coming months. Boustany tells Politico, "It’s easy to say you’re for tax reform until you see the details. We’ll put out details and want to hear from our House leadership." The Democrats will happily let the GOP sort it all out themselves.