Timothy Geithner Reaches Out on Tax Reform

Posted March 1, 2012 at 12:28pm

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is meeting today with the top four lawmakers responsible for tax writing to go over the administration’s plans for tax code reform.

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Finance ranking member Orrin Hatch (Utah), House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (Mich.) and Ways and Means ranking member Sander Levin (Mich.) will be attend the meeting at the Treasury, multiple sources confirmed.

Democrats and Republicans alike have touted major tax overhauls as part of their platforms to both simplify the code and add back to the deficit, though the parties disagree significantly on how to achieve those goals.

“I’d like a lot more details of what they’d like to do, what directions they’re going, a lot concerning the details about any tax code that they’d like to have,” Hatch said earlier today.

Baucus and Camp, in particular, have attempted to work together on tax policy, holding joint hearings on the tax code as well as negotiating potential changes as members of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction and the conference committee on the payroll tax holiday legislation.

President Barack Obama last month put forward a plan to cut the corporate tax rate while also closing many loopholes and ending some tax breaks. His plan included proposals to eliminate tax subsidies for oil and gas companies and the carried interest tax break for hedge fund managers — two things Republicans have said they would oppose.

When Obama unveiled the plan, Hatch, in particular, was harsh in his criticism: “Profoundly disappointing in its lack of detail, I told Secretary Geithner yesterday, the devil’s in the details when it comes to reforming our tax system — details that are sorely missing in what was released today. Unfortunately, this so-called framework is murky, ill-defined and contradictory to the goal of reducing complexity and making our tax code more efficient.”

Aides to lawmakers in both parties have suggested that tax reform will be a popular topic of discussion in 2012, but most believe it will not be addressed before November’s elections.