OUTLOOK: Business-Only Changes May Be End Game of Tax Overhaul Talks

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Jan. 23 — Talk of overhauling the U.S. tax code is certain to continue this year, but how much of that talk turns into action remains anyone's guess.

The congressional calendar is full of must-do items in the months before presidential politics begin to crowd things out ahead of the 2016 elections, including a March cutoff on the current physician reimbursement rate from Medicare, renewing the Highway Trust Fund in May and increasing the federal debt limit by mid- to late summer.

Optimists who see these deadlines as chances to attach tax legislation said they see a window of opportunity in 2015 thanks to words and signals from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and President Barack Obama. A degree of overlap among the different factions and outside interest groups gives them a measure of hope for progress.