Congress Lacks ‘Credibility’ to Hike Taxes: Camp

Congress lacks “credibility” with voters to seek tax increases without first reducing federal spending, said House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp.

“We have to demonstrate a commitment to get our debt and deficit under control,” the Michigan Republican said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. “The problem is Washington has spent too much.”

House Republicans and the Obama administration are clashing over whether a vote to raise the $14.3 trillion federal debt ceiling should include revenue increases along with spending cuts.

Camp and many other Republicans say a deficit reduction agreement shouldn’t include tax increases. Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading the debt limit talks for the administration, said yesterday that “revenues have to be in the deal.” Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, has said higher revenue generated by eliminating tax breaks should be part of a bipartisan agreement.

Camp said a scheduled vote next week on a $2.4 trillion debt limit increase without conditions will demonstrate through its failure that Congress will impose spending cuts.

‘Avenue’s Closed’

“It’s important to demonstrate that that avenue’s closed,” Camp said of raising the debt limit without conditions, adding that financial markets shouldn’t interpret the House vote’s likely failure next week as a sign that Congress won’t raise the debt limit. “This is one where I think we have to look past just the headline.”

Separate from the debt limit discussion, Camp is working on a proposal to overhaul the U.S. tax code that would raise the same amount of money as the current system while lowering rates and removing tax breaks.

“That’s a direction that will actually help grow our economy,” he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Richard Rubin in Washington at Peter Cook in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at

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