A Bi-Partisan Olive Branch: Hatch Speaks on Tax Reform Measures

    The Ways and Means Committee's Tax Reform Blueprint has been in the news for a while now, but until this past week we have not heard from Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch about his views on the direction the Senate will take on tax reform measures. 

    Speaking before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on February 1, the Utah Senator opened his remarks stating that he was not under any "illusion” that the problems with the tax code could be solved overnight, and that he did not believe those problems could be solved by a single party or President. 

    In offering a bi-partisan olive branch for meaningful reform, Senator Hatch also recognizes and acknowledges that he has a difficult task ahead of him. Without Senate Democrats in support, he will need universal Republican support to pass anything through the process of reconciliation. The tool allows bills to pass with only a simple majority, and was used in recent years to pass the Bush tax cuts and Obamacare.

    The Ways and Means Committee remains committed to their goal of drafting transition language by the August recess, and Senator Hatch was very clear about supporting Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady on his efforts. But there are clearly two timelines at work that could push tax reform back into late 2017. 

    For the Housing Credit, we know from the Ways and Means retreat held before the holidays that they voted overwhelmingly to include the credit in the reform blueprint. As of this week, we have been told that Senator Hatch will likely be the lead co-sponsor once again on the 50% Housing Credit increase bill, which will be re-introduced by Senator Cantwell this spring. This sets the stage for strong House/Senate support for the Housing Credit in reform legislation this year, regardless of when an agreement finally comes together.


     Bob Moss is a CohnReznick Principal and National Director of Governmental Affairs. Bob leads the Firm’s federal and state government relations efforts, particularly in the area of affordable housing.

    Bob can be reached at bob.moss@cohnreznick.com or 617-648-1406. For more legislative insight from Bob, visit our Capitol Connection webpage.