Hensarling Touts Tax Reform If GOP Wins Both Chambers

If Republicans win both chambers of Congress, the GOP can't afford to play it safe, says Hensarling, left. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If Republicans are looking to temper expectations for a GOP-controlled 114th Congress, Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling isn't doing such a good job.  

Hensarling sat down with the Wall Street Journal recently, and in a wide-ranging interview published Monday, the Texas Republican offered up the sort of quotes that can easily be thrown back in the faces of Republicans if they don't accomplish a major tax overhaul.  

"It's a put-up or shut-up moment for us," Hensarling said of a tax rewrite.  

According to the Wall Street Journal, Hensarling explained that an overhaul is possible in 2015 because the reputation of the IRS has been badly damaged and because Republicans will have no excuse for not addressing taxes if they win the Senate.  

Of course, even if the GOP does control both chambers, they're practically guaranteed not to hold the sort of Senate majority capable of passing major tax changes without Democratic votes — a fact that Hensarling seemed to overlook. Instead, the six-term congressman was bullish on legislation that would cut tax rates, eliminate loopholes and establish an easier filing system.  

“Nothing says economic growth like fundamental tax reform,” he said. Hensarling also said an early indication of whether Republicans would be capable of fundamentally addressing the tax code will come in June, when the Export-Import Bank once again comes up for another reauthorization. Hensarling is a proponent of letting the bank, which acts as a credit agency for foreign companies buying U.S. goods, die.  

“If we can’t get rid of this agency and the corporate welfare it represents, how will House Republicans ever muster the intestinal fortitude to be able to do fundamental tax reform?” Hensarling asked.  


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