News and Tribune

August 29, 2013

Young: We have the leverage to push tax reform

Congressman says blocking health care funds won’t stop law


NEW ALBANY — U.S. Rep. Todd Young believes the public has the appetite to deal with the kind of debates that led to deadline fiscal deals in the past if it brings about change in Washington.

Young, R-Ind., met with local business owners at One Southern Indiana on Wednesday about tax reform. He said it’s an issue the House and Republican lawmakers could hold leverage over the White House on with a Sept. 30 federal government funding deadline approaching.

Congress could vote to approve funding for a certain period of time such as two months and require certain tax reform packages to be approved within that span, Young said.

If those benchmarks were met, Congress could again vote to extend federal government funding for another couple of months.

Young said such a process would ultimately result in President Barack Obama signing comprehensive tax reform into law.

“This is admittedly a messy way forward, but you can see how we would have leverage at each point, and an opportunity to educate the American people along the way,” Young said following the 1si meeting.

“I think the American people want to see something positive done in Washington.”

Young added that he believes “we’re still a hardy enough nation” to endure what can be a grueling political process if it yields good results.  

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that the group The Senate Conservatives Fund will launch a series of radio ads challenging Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to contest funding for the health care package.

But Young said using funding deadlines such as Sept. 30 as a way to defund Obama’s health care law isn’t viable.

Even if Congress denied funding the health care package, Young said the president has the authority to use funds from other sources to foot the reform policies.

Since the health care package is now law, it won’t largely depend on annual appropriations made by Congress anyway, he continued.

But Young said the new policies will lead to decreased health care access, higher premiums and a reduction in medical innovation.

“I share the goals of many of my colleagues to mitigate the pain that I think is a function of many aspects of this law,” Young said, but he added attempting to block funding for reform wouldn’t change the policy.

“I want to get something substantive and meaningful out of my vote.”

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said during a stop in New Albany on Tuesday that a bi-partisan solution is attainable on budgetary and tax issues if a more moderate approach is taken.

“There are very common sense solutions to the budgetary challenges that we have,” Donnelly said. “You hear people on both extremes talking, and we’re not going to get answers on the extremes. We’re going to get answers by good people, Republicans and Democrats, working together.”

As for tax reform, 1si CEO Wendy Dant Chesser said the Chamber’s members were especially interested in simplifying the tax code.

Local businesses also support changes in the tax code as a way to boost economic growth, she continued.

“I sensed an optimism as [Young] gave his presentation and they pitched their questions,” Chesser said.