ICYMI – Delaney Calls on White House to Adopt Bipartisan Approach to Tax Reform & Infrastructure on Bloomberg
WASHINGTON – During an interview with Bloomberg Television Friday, Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) urged the White House to adopt a new bipartisan approach. Congressman Delaney argued that the health care debacle proved that working to implement the House Republican agenda unilaterally will not prove successful and that the President should drop the Border Adjustment Tax and begin gathering ideas from all sides on how to fix the tax code and fund a major infrastructure program.
Congressman Delaney – who was named one of Fortune’s “World’s Greatest Leaders” last week – is the author of two pieces of bipartisan legislation to rebuild America’s infrastructure using revenues from international tax reform.
The transcript of the discussion of infrastructure and tax reform is as follows:
Margaret Talev - Bloomberg: So now the President is saying he wants to turn his focus to tax reform and to infrastructure. These are areas where it’s entirely possible that he would need some cooperation from Democrats, certainly they would want that in order to get the biggest deal that they could, but they may actually need that to get anything across the finish line. What’s the takeaway from the way that this healthcare debated vote has played out and what is the Democrats’ incentive to work with the Administration at this point on anything?
Congressman Delaney: So I think moving to tax reform is the right answer. I think we should keep the Affordable Care Act in place, obviously, and we should work on fixing it. Whether we do that now or later in the year, I don’t think that’s as important as coming together to work on tax reform and infrastructure together. What you said there, Margaret, is really important, that we should be doing infrastructure and tax reform together because we’re never going to have a major infrastructure spending program unless we do it as part of tax reform because we need to generate the revenues to pay for it. I’ve got a bipartisan proposal to tie infrastructure investment to international tax reform. For example, when we fix the system that’s causing U.S. companies to keep all their cash overseas, and so I’m hopeful that after this defeat, and this embarrassment really, that the Administration actually comes to the Congress, both sides of the aisle, and says we’re not just going to follow the House Republican playbook, which is to try to get things done on a partisan basis. We’re going to work with the other side of the aisle. We’re not going to pursue this Border Adjustment Tax, which my colleagues in the House, on the Republican side of the aisle, have been pushing. I don’t think the Administration is that much in favor of it. I think it’s a really bad policy on a number of levels. I don’t know why you’d bet the whole U.S. economy on kind of a theory that’s intellectually interesting, but has never really been played out in this country. So what I’m hoping the president does is says to the country, I’m going to work with the Congress. I’m going to work on a bipartisan basis. This was a bad start here will healthcare. We’re going to move on to tax reform. We’re not just going to follow the playbook that the Republicans of the Congress are putting forth, which is this Border Adjustment Tax, and we’re going to try to do smart tax reform and pair it with infrastructure.
Mark Crumpton - Bloomberg: But Congressman, it sounds good in theory when you talk about a bipartisan gathering of trying to get things done. Could you just give us an example of how poisoned the well is in Washington? Can you and the Republicans work together? Can you and the White House work together?
Congressman Delaney: You know I think it’s really going to be a question for the House Republicans whether they want to work with the Democrats. I think the Democrats want to work with the President on infrastructure, we’ve said that repeatedly. A lot of us would like to work on tax reform. Right, so I think what the Administration should do is they should come to the Congress and say listen, let’s hear the various ideas for tax reform and infrastructure. Hear them from the Democrats. Hear them from the Republicans. Hear them from the different caucuses within the parties. Get the ideas out in the open, circulating in the public, and then try to work together, and obviously the Republicans control the Administration, and they control the Congress, so they’re ultimately going to set the agenda. But I think trying to start this next endeavor, tax reform, differently than what they did with healthcare because what they basically did with healthcare is they took an existing kind of Republican proposal, it wasn’t really vetted broadly, it certainly wasn’t vetted broadly with the American people, and then they quickly tried to jam it through. So the White House basically followed the lead of the House Republicans. I think on this next effort, on tax reform, they should pursue a different tact. What they should do is say they want to have an open process. They want to hear a bunch of ideas, including their own. They’re obviously going to shape the policy, but I think they should be taking a lead instead of letting the House Republicans take the lead and I think if they really want to lead on this, they should get a whole bunch of opinions. Get them out in the open, and have a transparent process where we come up with a tax reform infrastructure proposal that has an opportunity to get bipartisan support. Whether we can do that or not, who knows, but at least we should try.