House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., on Wednesday unveiled his ambitious new proposals, which would shutter tax loopholes and reduce individual taxation levels to two brackets in hopes of broadening the tax base and raising revenue.
Earnest cited several reasons why the White House was “optimistic” about the plan.
He said that “the president has long advocated closing” many of the loopholes targeted by the Camp plan, including the corporate jet and carried interest tax loopholes and “a series of other unfair tax loopholes that don’t contribute to long-term economic growth.”
Earnest also noted that the plan provided new revenue for infrastructure, a key priority for President Obama in his second term.
But Earnest also cautioned that the White House was concerned that about the plan’s effect on the deficit.
“There doesn’t appear to be any revenue raised from the proposal that goes to reduce the deficit,” said the Obama spokesman.
Earnest also called for tax reform to extend the Earned Income Tax Credit — a proposal not adopted by Camp.
“The president believes that our tax system should reward hard work and one way we can reward hard work is to extend and expand the EITC,” he said. “This does not seem like a very good time to be raising taxes on working people. That’s another aspect of Congressman Camp’s proposal that we do not agree with.”
“There’s not a great about of optimism on Capitol Hill for any kind of legislative proposal that seems complicated,” said Earnest about the plan’s prospects on Capitol Hill.
He said the White House was speaking to both Republicans and Democrats about reforming the tax code, but added “I think it’s pretty fair to say that we are realistic” about the challenges ahead.