WASHINGTON, June 26 The top Democrat and
Republican tax-writers in the U.S. Senate will propose a revamp
of the tax code on Thursday that challenges their colleagues to
justify retaining some of the country's most cherished tax
Democrat Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance
Committee, and top panel Republican Orrin Hatch, will challenge
fellow lawmakers in a "dear colleague" letter, according to a
senior Republican aide, who could not speak for attribution.
They will propose to cut tax rates with most tax breaks
wiped out and ask their colleagues to justify putting them back
By proposing such a slimmed-down tax code, Baucus and Hatch
would force fellow senators to make their case for retaining
popular breaks, including the home mortgage interest deduction
and the tax break on employer-paid health insurance.
Baucus and his counterpart in the U.S. House of
Representatives, Republican Dave Camp, are working on proposals
to overhaul the entire tax code, with Camp pledging to pass
legislation this year out of his Ways and Means Committee.
Camp has issued several proposals dealing with specific
parts of the code, including international and financial
products taxation, and is expected to introduce legislation
The work in the Senate has proceeded at a slower pace.
Democrats and Republicans largely concur on the need for a
revamp of the tax code, but differ on whether new revenue should
be raised and which tax breaks should be scrapped for lower