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The Monitor Breakfast

Tax reform: Why Rep. Dave Camp won't rest until it's done

GOP Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, says he's willing to 'walk down every street' to build consensus in Congress on tax reform.

By David T. CookStaff writer / April 12, 2013

GOP Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, speaks at the Monitor Breakfast in Washington, D.C., Thursday.

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor

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Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R) of Michigan has led the House's tax-writing panel since 2011. Representative Camp was the guest at the April 11 Monitor Breakfast.

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The need for tax reform:

"The code is too complicated. Americans spend about 6 billion hours a year complying with the code. For the average person, it is about 13 hours. It is a cost and a drag on the economy of about $168 billion."

His decision to write tax legislation through a committee process rather than behind closed doors:

"You build to ... consensus on big things from the committee level up, from the ground up.... The best way to do that is through a committee process. I'm going to walk down every street I can to get tax reform done."

The idea of doing away with the federal income tax in favor of another approach, such as a consumption tax:

"One of the concerns you have with alternative forms [of taxation] is because states, many states, rely on an income tax ... [and so] you will still have an income tax.... The worry is, do you layer on another level of taxation in addition to the income tax? I think that would not be a good thing."

The dramatic increase in people signing up for federal disability benefits:

"That is an area that ... is very much in need of attention.... [T]he program is in real trouble in terms of its solvency and so we are going to be forced to take a look at it."

A possible run for the US Senate seat being vacated by retiring Carl Levin:

"I'm committed to tax reform.... I'm not taking a serious look at the race."

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