On February 1, 2017, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) delivered a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in which he reaffirmed that Republicans are committed to reforming the current tax system. Chairman Hatch noted that there is now an “administration that wants to work with Congress to fix the … problems in our tax code and a Congress that is ready to get it done.”
Chairman Hatch remarked that there are “questions about detail and design” but that there is agreement on fundamental principles, namely, that tax reform should be pro-growth, comprehensive, and should address both the individual and business tax systems.
Although Chairman Hatch’s speech did not allude to many specific areas, it did note that Republicans are in agreement on the need to
(i) reduce, what he termed, “special interest credits and deductions”, (ii) create fewer tax brackets, (iii) reduce corporate rates, and (iv) move to a territorial tax system. However, Chairman Hatch raised significant concerns about the border adjustment proposals floated recently, suggesting those plans may be heavily scrutinized in the Senate.
Chairman Hatch also confirmed that there is significant Republican support for the repeal or reform of the estate tax, implying that a total repeal of the estate tax, as proposed by President Trump, may not have the necessary level of congressional support.
On working with the House of Representatives to accomplish the desired tax reform, Chairman Hatch commented that
[n]o one should expect the Senate to simply take up and pass a House tax reform bill” and that the “Senate will have to work through its own tax reform process.”
Further, he reminded those in attendance that the Republican majority in the Senate is only two votes and that his “preference would be to find a bipartisan path forward.”