Legislative Activity

Tax Writing Committee Meetings Continue

The Senate Finance Committee has continued its series of closed-door committee meetings on tax reform, recently issuing their latest Option Paper on May 23 – this one on Economic Security. The closed-door meetings are intended to facilitate discussion among senators in an attempt to find where agreement on policy exists. The sessions are expected to include discussion on most major policy elements of tax reform.

In this latest paper, when reviewing the tax rules that affect the economic security of Americans, the committee stated that the aim is to: simplify the taxation of retirement savings and health insurance, minimize the disruption to business practices and employee expectations inherent in any fundamental tax reform, increase the number of people with enough resources for an adequate standard of living in retirement, and expand access to health insurance.

The Economic Security Option Paper was the seventh topic covered by the committee. The committee is expected to release ten Option Papers. The final three are likely to come in the next few weeks. A list of all the Option Papers currently published is available here.

CBO Report Says Tax Expenditures Benefiting Wealthiest Americans

Last week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report that the wealthiest Americans benefit most from ten of the largest tax expenditures. The CBO estimated that more than 50 percent of the largest tax expenditures benefit the top fifth of U.S. households based on income. House Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and House Ways and Means ranking member Sandy Levin (D-MI) argued the report confirms that additional revenue to pay down the federal debt and offset sequestration spending cuts can be obtained by eliminating or limiting tax preferences that benefit the wealthy.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, June 4: The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing with organizations targeted by the Internal Revenue Service for their personal beliefs.
  • Wednesday, June 5: The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on how Social Security protects the benefits of those who cannot protect themselves.
  • Thursday, June 6: The Senate Finance Committee will hold a Hearing to consider the Nomination of Michael Froman to be the U.S. Trade Representative.