Tax-reform advocate Camp won't seek re-election to U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON Mon Mar 31, 2014 7:52pm EDT

1 of 2. U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) questions outgoing acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller during a hearing on the Internal Revenue Service on Capitol Hill in Washington in this May 17, 2013 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Dave Camp, who tried and failed this year as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee to initiate an overhaul of the U.S. tax code, said on Monday he would not seek re-election in November.

"This decision was reached after much consideration and discussion with my family," the 12-term, 60-year-old Michigan Republican said in a statement issued by the committee.

Camp said that during his final nine months in Congress, he would seek reform on a number of fronts, including "fixing our broken tax code."

In February, Camp floated a draft plan to rewrite the tax code for the first time since 1986. It generated plenty of discussion, but little action.

"Blah, blah, blah, blah," House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, told reporters when asked about it.

Under Camp's plan, the number of categories for U.S. income tax rates would be reduced to three from seven. He also called for eliminating a wide range of tax breaks.

Critics said his proposal would help the rich at the expense of the poor. Camp disagreed and argued a more streamlined tax code would unleash stronger economic growth that would benefit all Americans.

There appears to be little, if any, chance that the full House will consider any of Camp's proposals any time soon. His decision to retire may further reduce expectations of a sweeping overhaul of the tax code.

Last year, Camp worked with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana to craft a bipartisan tax reform plan. But those efforts failed, and Baucus later retired from Congress and became U.S. ambassador to China.

Camp has been chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee since 2011 when Republicans took control of the House of Representatives from President Barack Obama's Democrats.

Camp was already scheduled to step aside as chairman in January when his six-year term limit in the post ends.

Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the losing Republican vice presidential nominee in 2012, has long expressed an interest in replacing Camp as chairman of the committee.

Ryan now chairs the House Budget Committee, and, like Camp, has a six-year term limit in the post that ends in January. There had been talk of Ryan and Camp swapping jobs.

Camp was the second Republican House committee chairman in as many weeks to announce he would retire from Congress at the end of his term in January, following Mike Rogers, also of Michigan, who heads the House Intelligence Committee.

Camp is the 24th Republican and 41st member of the House to announce he is not seeking re-election in November. Republicans hold the House 233-199, with three vacancies.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro, Richard Cowan and Patrick Temple West; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Peter Cooney and Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (2)
AlkalineState wrote:
Wide stance.

Mar 31, 2014 5:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
kurgen99 wrote:
The Camp plan would decimate a fundamental component of the American economy- the robust investment in real estate.

The proposal to eliminate 1031 exchanges, limit the mortgage interest deduction, eliminate the deduction of state and local taxes and eliminate Fannie and Freddie would crush domestic and foreign investment in the real estate market, destroying many middle and upper class jobs. Eliminating the tax rules for 1031 like-kind exchanges alone would bring the real estate market to a grinding halt as investors would have a strong disincentive to sell their current property.
We will become more like Europe, a nation of renters, with landlords holding on to property for life, with flat property values. There is a huge underestimation of how much a rise in property values plays in the overall health of the economy. Equity in property is CURRENTLY liquid. People are constantly pulling out some of this equity and spending it on other sectors of the economy. For some people, this is their only source of wealth. It makes my head spin to think about how foolish it would be to tamper with this fundamental and UNIQUE characteristic of the American economy.

Mar 31, 2014 12:45am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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