Republicans in the Senate are holding back from offering tax reform proposals until they get a commitment that Democrats won't simply be using it as a platform to increase spending.
Senate Finance Committee members Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, had proposed approaching the task with a "blank slate" and gave members until July 26 to suggest specific credits and deductions to be written into a reformed tax code.
But so far, not one Republican has offered up ideas. GOP lawmakers contend they cannot consider whether a tax break is worth scrapping if they don't know whether Democrats would use the resulting revenue for extra spending, The Hill reported
Republicans have said any reform of the tax code must result in an overall reduction in tax rates.
"I think for me to try to draft the tax code in my office, which sounds like what the blank slate would ask you to do, is not the right approach for me to take," Missouri GOP Sen. Roy Blunt told The Hill.
"I think if you don't agree on the revenue question before you start the process, the process will not produce a result," he said.
The impasse suggests that even though tax reform has been a top priority for congressional Republicans
, chances are it won't happen in the near future.
Hatch, however, has said he is still hopeful that Republicans will engage in the process and offer suggestions.
"I don't think there's any reason for people to be fearful. There are some who may or may not want to submit letters on what they like. They may have to just chat with me, for instance, on our side," Hatch told The Hill.
Meanwhile, Baucus launched a tour this week with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, the Michigan Republican, to build support for tax reform efforts
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