| US Committee on Ways and Means is a new entry this year
The US Ways & Means Committee, the chief tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives, is considered to be the most powerful committee in Congress. This year, Kevin Brady, representative of the 8th District in the state of Texas and chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, and Barbara Angus, chief tax counsel at the committee, have both been chosen to be included in the Global Tax 50 for their impact in shaping and reforming the US's tax system.
As this issue was going to press, Brady was re-elected as chairman of the committee for the 115th Congress. "I'm honoured to be re-elected to serve as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Our work is about to get even more exciting with President-Elect Trump in the White House. Our first two priorities are to pass bold pro-growth tax reform and finally repeal and replace Obamacare [the popular name for the Affordable Care Act]," Brady said in a statement on December 2. Brady will be responsible for advancing the Republican Party's goals of revamping the tax code and abolishing Obamacare in the White House in 2016. As chairman, Brady will also be tasked with guiding the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement through Congress in 2017, should Donald Trump renege on his pledge to withdraw from the agreement.
Most notably, the House Republicans released a Blueprint on June 24 that, if enacted, would be the most progressive and dramatic change to happen to the US tax system in modern times. "We started work on this proposal in February as part of House Speaker Paul Ryan's 'Better Way' agenda. We had two main goals. First, we wanted to develop a tax system built for growth – the growth of families' paychecks, the growth of American businesses large and small, and the growth of the US economy as a whole. Second, we wanted a tax code modern and competitive enough to make America a global economic leader for decades to come," Brady told International Tax Review.
With the election of Donald Trump and a returning Republican majority in both the House and Senate, Brady is excited about the prospects of making tax reform a reality in the new year. "This is a top agenda item for the Ways and Means Committee and the President-elect has indicated that it will be a major priority for his administration," Brady said.
"Thanks to the vision and leadership of Speaker Ryan and the hard work of our members in developing the Blueprint, we are in a great position to move quickly on tax reform in 2017. But success cannot be taken as a given. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us. We very much look forward to working with President-elect Trump to deliver a 21st century tax code that grows our economy and helps Americans of all walks of life."
Angus, a former principal at EY where she was leader of international tax policy services, joined the committee on January 20 2016 and has since been working hard on creating the legislation for a pro-growth tax system. "As I have settled into my new job, it is inspiring to see how committed the members of Ways & Means are to tax reform – for many of them, fixing the US tax code is one of the reasons they came to Congress."
"Looking back on 2016, I am most excited about the development of the Better Way Blueprint for tax reform," Angus told International Tax Review. She believes it to be important for a tax system to keep up with developments in the economy, including the rise of globalisation and new technology.
2017 is likely to mark the long-awaited reform of the US tax system, which will happen for the first since the Tax Reform Act of 1986. For businesses, all eyes will be on the Ways & Means Committee to see what direction it takes.