There are already many areas of agreement between Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Democrats’ top tax writer, and Republican Rep. Dave Camp, his counterpart on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Over the last year, both men have held a series of hearings on the issue. Tax reform isn’t something that should be done hastily– just look at the Savings & Loan Crisis produced by the rushed tax reform process in 1986 – but with so much already discussed, a comprehensive overhaul is already well on it’s way. So much is apparent in the current supercommittee negotiations.
Last week, deficit negotiators from both sides unveiled their offers. Dems proposed a $3 trillion-deficit cutting plan and Republicans proposed a $2.2 trillion version. The biggest difference? Taxes. The seemingly wide rift on this issue was on display at a public hearing Tuesday, during which Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling sharply told Senator Patty Murray, “Certainly we cannot tax our way out of this crisis.” But this sparring belies the state of near-consensus on tax reform. There’s now enough agreement that if Republicans were to give an inch on revenue, a deal could quickly be achieved.
If the supercommittee does come to an agreement, it will likely include $800 billion in new revenue that House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor discussed with the White House during the summer’s heated debt ceiling talks.