Wall Street Journal
March 12, 2013

Signs of Life in Senate Tax-Reform Effort

At least they’re talking. 

Senate Finance Committee members are having bipartisan talks on how and whether to overhaul the much-criticized U.S. tax code, and are expected to soon begin a series of more formal meetings, as House Ways and Means members already have.

Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.) already is working with committee members to put together bipartisan discussion papers for the members to consider and provide input on.

The expected moves represent signs of life in the tax-overhaul effort for the committee, which is somewhat behind Ways and Means in public preparations for the massive job of rewriting the tax code. Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.) is expected to take another step Tuesday when he rolls out a discussion draft of small-business changes; such drafts are not formal legislation but are designed to spur public comment.

Finance members also will be battling to keep the tax-overhaul effort from becoming a political issue in this week’s budget battles. Some liberal Democrats propose to raise significant new tax revenue through the budget process, by closing loopholes for the wealthy and big businesses — or at least put pressure on Republicans to defend those loopholes. Many Finance members worry that could doom the long-delayed tax overhaul for another Congress.

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