Officially elected: Speaker Paul Ryan. The former Ways & Means chairman won the election for Speaker of the House yesterday morning. He is the youngest to serve in that role in more than 100 years, and is the first Ways & Means chair to move directly to the Speakership. In his first speech, he called for unity, saying “Only a fully functioning House can truly represent the people. What a relief to them it would be if we finally got our act together.” Could he boost the chances of tax reform? Perhaps, but not soon, thinks TPC’s Howard Gleckman.
Ways & Means has a temporary leader. Representative Sam Johnson of Texas is the senior Republican member of the panel and serves as Chair of its subcommittee on Social Security. Johnson will lead the full committee until House Republicans can pick a new Chair.
Elsewhere on the Hill. After a late speech by Senator Rand Paul, the Senate early this morning passed the two-year budget deal brokered between former Speaker John Boehner and the White House in a 64-35 vote. On Wednesday, the Senate Budget Committee plans to examine reforming the federal budget process, perhaps with a biennial approach.
Remember corporate inversions? Two pharmaceutical companies may still merge to reduce taxes, regardless of any potential political fallout. Pfizer’s CEO Ian Read told The Wall Street Journal (paywall) that said he is competing against foreign rivals “with one hand tied behind our back,” and it’s his duty to protect or boost the value of his company. If that means taking over Allergan and changing Pfizer’s New York mailing address, so be it. Taxes are, he said, “an expense” that “needs to be managed like any other expense.”
Next Tuesday, tune in for a talk about tax reform. TPC will host a live webcast discussion on the economic and political lessons of the report from President George W. Bush’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. In 2005, the panel proposed sweeping changes to the tax system, though Bush never pushed them. The event will feature a keynote address by Jason Furman, Chair of the President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, and a panel discussion featuring key members and staff of the Bush Tax Panel, including Vice-Chairman John Breaux, Edward Lazear, James Poterba, Charles Rossotti, and Rosanne Altshuler. The speakers will also take questions from the audience. Tune in at 10 am and join the conversation on Twitter: #taxreform.
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