- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said Tuesday he sees “no hope” for tax reform happening this year in Congress.

Mr. McConnell told reporters he doesn’t see how it can happen, given statements from President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, that tax increases be part of the package.

“I think we will not be able to finish the job, regretfully, in 2014,” Mr. McConnell said. “Now, if we had a new Republican Senate next year, coupled with a Republican House, I think we could have at least a congressional agreement that this is about getting rates down and making America more competitive, you know, not about giving the government even more revenue. So I have no hope for that happening this year.”

The announcement seemingly puts the kibosh on tax reform framework House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, Michigan Republican, is planning to roll out Wednesday.

For his part, Mr. Reid wasn’t terribly optimistic, either.

“It will be extremely difficult — with the obstruction that we get here from the Republicans on virtually everything — to do something that should have been done years ago,” he told reporters Tuesday. “I think that Camp is right in coming forward with a piece of legislation.”

SEE ALSO: Bill Clinton’s first campaign stop of 2014: Kentucky, to oust McConnell

Asked whether he would drop demands that reform include revenue increases, Mr. Reid said he has “no preconception” and that he has tremendous confidence in Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat and incoming chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Mr. Reid said he’d wait for a report from Mr. Wyden on what he thinks should be done.

The Senate recently confirmed the finance committee’s past chairman, Democrat Max Baucus of Montana, to be U.S. ambassador to China. 

“So we’re over here starting over again,” Mr. Reid said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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