A secret meeting about tax reform between House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew that took place Tuesday afternoon in the Capitol was exposed after word spread about the gathering and reporters showed up.
Baucus told Washington publication Politico the three made progress and tax reform is moving forward. He added that he plans to mark up a tax reform bill this fall.
Camp told reporters he does not plan to release a draft of his bill before the August break, and the Ways and Means Committee – where tax reform must originate – is still working on the issue.
The involvement of the Executive Branch may not be good news for credit unions, because President Barack Obama’s 2014 budget estimated the industry tax exemption cost the Treasury $1.44 billion in 2012. That same document did not mention the cost of the bank Subchapter S tax-free status.
"The tax reform process feels very fluid right now,” said credit union lobbyist John McKechnie, partner at the Washington-based firm Total Spectrum. McKechnie said he’s heard that senators aren’t keen on Baucus’ “blank slate” approach, in which he asked senators to provide him with letters by Friday telling him which tax expenditures should survive reform.
“But in a way that gives Chairman Baucus more running room. He can fill in the details,” McKechnie said.
NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler said his trade’s Congressional Caucus, which will bring hundreds of credit union executives to Washington to lobby lawmakers in mid-September, is well timed given Baucus’ statement the Senate Finance Committee will consider tax reform legislation this fall.
“NAFCU is remaining vigilant in our defense of the credit union tax exemption and is staying in regular contact with key members on the tax writing committees as the tax reform debate moves forward,” he said.