Baucus Says Congress to See Political Gain in Tax Change

The biggest changes to the tax code since 1986 will prove to be politically popular and achievable during an election year, said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus.

“Suspend judgment a little bit,” Baucus said on Bloomberg Television today. “Once the country starts to focus more on tax reform, Congress is going to start to realize, ‘Hey, there’s a political benefit to this, not a political liability.’”

Baucus spoke from Butte, Montana, where he is hosting an economic-development summit with corporate executives such as Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google Inc., Jim McNerney, the chief executive officer of the Boeing Co., and Alan Mulally, the president and CEO of Ford Motor Co. (F) All those companies have billions of dollars at stake in Baucus’s tax plan.

Baucus, a Montana Democrat, has said he plans to push a tax plan through his committee this year that would lower rates for individuals and corporations and broaden the tax base.

Among his biggest challenges is the resistance from Democratic leaders, who want as much as $1 trillion in additional revenue over 10 years, and Republican leaders, who want none. Baucus, without being specific, has said he’ll seek a middle ground.

“Frankly, it’s going to be politically popular,” he said.

Baucus -- who is working with Republican House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp -- faces a deadline at the end of 2014, when he will retire after six six-year terms.

Since the last tax code revamp in 1986, the code has become full of “dead wood” and “barnacles,” Baucus said.

He said he was “quite confident” that President Barack Obama would make a good choice to replace Ben S. Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve. He wouldn’t comment on the prospects for Janet Yellen or whether Lawrence Summers, who yesterday took his name out of the running, could have been confirmed by the Senate.

“The main point is finding a very good person to replace Chairman Bernanke,” Baucus said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Rubin in Washington at rrubin12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at jschneider50@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.