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Centrist Dems Seek Input on Tax Reform from K Street

06/15/2017

The Hill

The Blue Dog Coalition of centrist House Democrats is asking for input from K Street as it seeks to formulate a set of principles on tax reform and work with Republicans on the issue.

"Your views will inform and help guide our principles and involvement in the tax reform debate," the coalition wrote Thursday in a letter to stakeholders. The letter was signed by Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), who is co-chair of policy for the coalition.

The Blue Dogs's letter comes as the White House and congressional Republicans have made passing tax-reform legislation one of their top legislative goals for this year. Several Trump administration officials and GOP lawmakers have said that they would prefer that tax reform be bipartisan.

"As the debate continues, the Blue Dogs believe that there is an opportunity to act in a bipartisan way and we are seeking concrete ways to contribute," the coalition wrote. "Our current tax code undermines American competitiveness, and we view reform as an opportunity to increase economic growth and jobs, improve the security of the middle class, and possibly even enable new investments in infrastructure."

Congressional GOP leaders have said they plan to pass tax-reform legislation through a special process called "reconciliation" – which requires a simple majority of votes to pass – in order to prevent a Democratic filibuster.

However, the Blue Dogs said they would prefer tax-reform legislation to move through regular order.

"Reforming our tax system must be done in the most responsible and sustainable way—and that means it must be bipartisan," the group wrote.

The coalition plans to come up with a set of principles on tax reform that will serve as a foundation for members as they participate in tax-reform discussions. The principles will be based on the group's "commitment to fiscal responsibility and economic growth," the group said.

The Blue Dogs said they have started inviting interest groups and bipartisan policy experts to meetings, and they asked stakeholders to share their ideas.

"We would like to encourage stakeholders, including you, to communicate tax policy priorities to the Blue Dog Coalition," the coalition said.

The letter was sent to stakeholders that include labor unions, corporations and trade associations, according to a senior Blue Dog official.

The Blue Dogs have also met with representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the International Franchise Association and the American Made Coalition of businesses that supports Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) border-adjustment proposal.

The group is also planning to meet with policy experts later this month, including Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget President Maya MacGuineas and former Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf, the coalition official said.


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