The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee is warning of the pressing need for stability in the American economy through settled tax policy and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) patch.
Rep. Dave Camp (R–Mich.), the chairman-in-waiting of the powerful tax-writing committee, says that he’s received warnings from the IRS of a looming train wreck.
“There is a huge expense both on the employers who have to figure out the withholding tables and also [on] the IRS trying to figure out the AMT patch,” Camp told HUMAN EVENTS in an exclusive interview. “The Commissioner of the IRS called me and said if, in fact, this is not done by the end of the year it could freeze as many as 20 million returns of those who have an AMT issue. If it goes very long it could freeze as many as 100 million returns and delay the April 15 [filing] date. That causes a lot of uncertainty and disruption and it all has an economic cost to it as well.”
Camp says the instability has already been too costly and was unnecessary.
“There is a price to pay for not doing the people’s business in a timely way,” Camp said. “This all should have been done before the elections. The American people should have had information on where we stand before they voted. They’re behind and delayed already. I just hope we don’t cross into next year where there will be a $3.8 trillion tax increase if we don’t act.”
Should Democrats fail to act on the full extension of the current tax rates, Camp says that Republicans are ready to move immediately in the new Congress.
“We are also focused on not having a tax increase on January 1,” Camp told HE. “I don’t know whether that will be dealt with in the lame duck, but if not, it will be our first order of business: making sure that there is not a tax increase on the American people next year.”
Camp also said the plan to repeal ObamaCare is a pressing priority for his committee, which has oversight responsibility for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and over Obama’s health care rationing czar, CMS Director Donald Berwick.
“We are still on a plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. We want to repeal ObamaCare in full. That’s going to be one of the signature items that we [will] work on. It increases health care costs. It creates this huge government bureaucracy. It’s going to cause people to lose the health care that they know and like. There are lots of problems with it,” Camp said.
“We can move toward defunding parts of it if for some reason the repeal fails. We will also work to repeal parts of it if the full repeal doesn’t work, but the focus remains on trying to repeal the whole thing, because it’s not sustainable the way it is, and we need to make a change there,” he said.
Camp acknowledges that passing ObamaCare wasn’t about health care but was about control of the populace through an ever-expanding government bureaucracy.
“ObamaCare was about control and empowerment—more money to the government,” Camp said. “Obviously the individual mandate is a problem, the 1099 individual mandate; the entitlement expansion both in Medicare and the CLASS Act are all problematic going forward.”
He’s also concerned about reports that the White House is doling out ObamaCare waivers to select companies.
“If this bill is so great, why have almost a hundred companies had to come to this White House to get waivers from the health care bill?” Camp said. “McDonald’s is the most visible one. Part of the job will be to find out, how did all of these waivers take place? Is it just a matter of who has a friend in the White House and can get a special deal? Why doesn’t it apply evenly across the board?”
“There will be a lot for us to do on health care,” Camp added.
Earlier in the day, Camp gave a speech before the Tax Council, in which he talked about the past two years of tax increases.
“I could easily list every single one of the nearly $700 billion in tax increases that have been signed into law in the last two years alone, but, frankly, you know what they are … and, to be honest, I’d run out of ways to say ‘higher’ and ‘larger’ and ‘job-killing’ if I had to list all of them,” Camp said. “And, that pales in comparison to the $3.8 trillion tax increase that is in store for the economy on December 31st of this year.”
“If the 2001 and 2003 rates expire—and if the new health care law takes full effect—the top individual tax rate will rise above 40 percent, capital gains taxes will surpass 25 percent and the effective tax rate on dividends will more than triple today’s 15 percent. The death tax next year will consume more than half of some estates.”
Camp says what we need is a comprehensive reform of the tax code that expands the tax base and lowers rates.