February 10,2015

Press Contact:

Lindsey Held: 202-224-4515

Wyden Says Tax Reform Possible with Principled Bipartisanship

Top Democrat Calls for Reform That’s Fair for Middle-Class Families

WASHINGTON –Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., at a hearing today on lessons learned from the Tax Reform Act of 1986, said any successful effort to reform the tax code must be on the basis of principled bipartisanship that addresses the needs of the American middle class and makes the U.S. more competitive in the global economy.

“Not every part of a 30 year-old game plan for tax reform can work today,” Wyden said.  “There is a new set of challenges to take on in this era, and making the tax code fair for the middle class in Oregon and across the country is at the top of the list. Reforming the tax code is always a herculean task, but the strategy of principled bipartisanship that worked in 1986 can work again today.”

Wyden raised several key issues that should be a part of a comprehensive tax overhaul: ensuring middle-class wage earners don’t pay higher tax rates than those whose earnings come from investments, correcting tax incentives for higher education and retirement so they are simple and effective, making provisions that drive innovation such as the R&D credit a permanent part of the code, and using the tax code to promote a clean energy future. Wyden also said tax reform must be fiscally responsible.

The hearing featured testimony from two former senators who were key to the process of passing the last major overhaul of the U.S. tax code. Senator Bob Packwood, R-Ore., a former chairman of the Finance Committee, and Bill Bradley, D-N.J., a former member of the Finance Committee, both testified that tax reform succeeded in 1986 because of a commitment to bipartisan compromise and pursuing tax reform in a comprehensive way.

Wyden’s full opening statement is available here.