Package of Minor Tax Bills May Advance as Election Nears

For over 50 years, Bloomberg BNA’s renowned flagship daily news service, Daily Tax Report® has helped leading practitioners and policymakers stay on the cutting edge of taxation and...

By Kaustuv Basu

May 18 — The Ways and Means Committee is considering a package of small tax bills that wouldn't get much traction outside an election year, but could be helpful to members in their campaigns during an already unpredictable election cycle.

Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said May 18 he would be meeting with Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), chairman of the Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee, in the next week to discuss the merits of some bills discussed at recent member-day hearings.

“There were a number of good ideas there,” Brady said. “I will meet with Chairman Boustany and look at those bills and make decisions on, you know, a first package of those.” Brady said he would have a better sense of timing next week but was uncertain about what measures might be included.

The bills would be modest, some could even be bipartisan, with a preference for measures introduced by committee members, a tax lobbyist said, adding that they wouldn’t have a lot of revenue cost and may even raise money. There is some pressure on Brady from committee members to do a miscellaneous package, the lobbyist said.

“The first thing is to show that we are a working committee and it is good to be on this committee. And the second thing is, there is a feeling that ‘we are in an election year here and if we are aware of little things we can get done, why aren’t we doing them?’ ” the lobbyist said.

The markup could resemble one in the Senate Finance Committee in February 2015 where 17 noncontroversial tax bills were marked up, he said (29 DTR G-8, 2/12/15).

“The concept is small-ball bills that members have not been able to do for five years now,” the lobbyist said.

Drumbeat Continues

The Tax Policy Subcommittee will meet May 25 to discuss tax overhaul ideas and hear from experts, according to a statement from the Ways and Means office.

“This subcommittee is leading the conversation about comprehensive tax reform, and next week’s hearing is another step in advancing our pro-growth ideas,” Boustany said in the statement.

The Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee will hold a hearing the same day on civil asset forfeiture issues. Subcommittee members will hear from those whose bank accounts were seized, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice, according to a news release from the committee.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kaustuv Basu in Washington at kbasu@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brett Ferguson at bferguson@bna.com