A speech by the an oil industry lobbying group Tuesday showed how interest groups are influencing the process, worried that they could be the big loser in tax reform.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Almost everybody in Washington loves something called “tax reform.” It is hailed as a key element of any potential "grand bargain" for fixing America's chronic budget woes – a way for Democrats and Republicans to find common ground by making the tax code fairer.
The idea is simple: scrape away a thicket of tax deductions and use that money to lower tax rates. But on Tuesday, a speech by the president of the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed exactly why that simple idea is likely to become a difficult slog.
In theory, API President Jack Gerard should be a political ally with the congressional Republicans pushing for tax reform. But Mr. Gerard signaled that his group wouldn't remain quiet in the tax debate – and he is just one of a legion of powerful industry lobbyists defending their interests by standing between the cuddly notion of tax reform and a concrete proposal.
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