Democrats Prepare to Move on Tax Priorities in April

Ways and Means Democrats have rolled out a series of tax hearings since they took control of the House in January. That’s easy enough.

The more difficult task for the House Ways and Means Committee begins now, as Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), its chairman, embarks on committee votes for legislation he hopes to advance.

It isn’t clear what tax policy goals committee Democrats will be able to check off in a divided Congress. But the Democratic majority in the House gives the tax-writing committee leverage to try to move forward on its goals.

A measure to retool the Internal Revenue Service that passed the House passed in the last Congress is the favorite candidate for an early April markup, along with legislation to boost retirement savings. Temporary tax breaks—known as extenders—and tax relief measures for disaster-stricken areas could also get consideration, although the conversations are still in flux, according to lobbyists familiar with discussions.

Jorge Castro, a former House Democratic tax aide, said that the first markup under Neal as chairman will set a tone for the future, making it important to monitor.