Changes in House Leadership Increase Prospect for Tax Reform

November 5, 2015

Congress has just experienced some exceptionally significant changes in the past weeks. John Boehner’s retirement led to the elevation of Paul Ryan (WI-1) as the new Speaker of the House last week, vacating his former position as Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee. Now, Congressman Kevin Brady (TX-8) has become the new Committee Chair.

These developments have led to an unusually positive environment for major tax reform. Speaker Ryan has repeatedly stressed his dedication to completing a tax overhaul. As noted in a recent Politico article, Ryan is “one of Congress’ preeminent tax experts, an ardent advocate of rewriting the code with lots of ideas on how to do it.” His new position as Speaker of the House will give him the authority to make tax reform a number one priority for Congress during his tenure.

Kevin Brady, on being officially elected to replace Ryan as Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee, stated that he intended to further Ryan’s tax reform agenda. "We're here to do big things. And under Speaker Ryan, we've got a once-in-a-generation opportunity," Brady told reporters.

In meetings with the ad community, Chairman Brady has made clear his belief in the importance of advertising as a driving force of the U.S. economy and the need to not diminish advertising’s positive impacts.

The Senate Finance Committee, the counterpart to the House Ways & Means Committee, is now far along in developing a tax reform proposal. Earlier this year, the Committee’s five bipartisan tax working groups requested input from the public on how best to proceed with tax reform. As we mentioned in April, ANA submitted comments to the Business Income Tax working group highlighting the need to maintain the present tax treatment of advertising in order to support the continued vigor and viability of this crucial sector of our economy.

Although both the House and Senate are now well positioned to take up tax reform, it is highly unlikely that there will be any definitive action on this front during this session of the Congress. In the meantime, however, much of the groundwork is being laid for a major overhaul. ANA will actively work with both House and Senate tax writing committees to ensure advertising is protected in the reform process.

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