WASHINGTON—Congressional action to end the government shutdown and avert debt ceiling default is disappointing as a vehicle for tax reform, but may offer future hope, according to Roy Littlefield, executive vice president of the Tire Industry Association.
“There is no ‘grand deal' for tax reform and entitlement reform,” Littlefield said in an Oct. 17 legislative update to the TIA Board of Directors. “But it appears to us there is a slight possibility for some expedited consideration of tax reform.”
The Senate passed a bill 81-18 on Oct. 16 to fund the government until Jan. 15 and raise the $16.7 trillion debt limit through Feb. 7. The House approved the legislation later that day 285-144, averting government default by only a few hours.
“Our ray of hope rests on the fact that the deal reached directs the budget committees of the House and Senate to convene to see if they can come up with a conference agreement to resolve differences passed by the chambers earlier this year,” Littlefield said in his update.
While the government can function without a congressional budget resolution, a resolution can contain instructions for budget reconciliation, and instruct the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees to develop actions to comply with those instructions, he said.
There is nothing in the debt ceiling deal about tax reform, and most Washington observers expect the House-Senate conference to concentrate on spending, according to Littlefield.
“But for the moment, we will keep the glimmer for tax reform flickering,” he said.
Dec. 13 is the deadline for the conference committee to report to Congress on a possible budget resolution.