- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rep. Paul Ryan said Wednesday that Republicans will outline their principles for tax reform even if President Obama’s insistence on higher taxes dampen the prospects of something actually passing.

“Lowering the tax rate, simplifying the tax code, making it clearer, simpler, fairer is clearly one of the best things we can do to create growth and jobs in this economy,” Mr. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the House Budget Committee, said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“Just because we have a liberal president that wants … redistribution and class warfare doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be saying what we think is a good way to go,” Mr. Ryan said.

Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, previewed his framework on tax reform to be released Wednesday in a Wall Street Journal piece.

His changes include items like consolidating tax breaks for education and lowering tax rates for individuals, families, and small businesses.

Mr. Camp also suggests cleaning up the closely-eyed “carried interest” provision that allows private equity firms a lower rate on what many see as regular income, as well as benefits related to corporate jets.

“The tax code changes in my plan are not intended as a means of raising revenue,” Mr. Camp wrote. “If loopholes are closed, Americans should get the benefit by way of lower rates.”

Asked Wednesday if the proposal “is the proposal of the Republican party in Washington,” House Speaker John A. Boehner said that “you’re getting a little bit ahead of yourself.”

“The chairman’s going to outline a discussion draft to start the discussion about tax reform,” the Ohio Republican told reporters. “This is the beginning of the conversation. The idea of tax reform is to get our economy going again, provide more economic growth, more jobs and higher wages. The way you do that is you bring down rates. And to bring down rates, you clean out a lot of the garbage that’s in there and the special interest issues that are in there. And so I think we ought to have a real conversation about this, and this is the beginning of that conversation.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said Tuesday there was no hope on tax reform happening this year because of demands from Mr. Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, that increased revenue be part of any deal.

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

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