Republican lawmakers are warning the Obama administration against taking executive actions to raise taxes after White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest indicated “the President is very interested in this avenue generally.”
In a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew this week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) remind the administration official that taxes must originate in the legislative branch.
“It would be a significant setback if you decided to interpret or implement tax laws based on your political preference rather than the consensus that the tax reform process could produce,” Hatch and Ryan wrote Wednesday. “It would also be significantly damaging to the economy to further the idea that, rather than working with stable rules of the road, tax and other laws will hereafter evolve according to the uncertain path of unilateral executive decisions followed by controversy, challenges, and mistrust.”
They called on Lew to work with Congress “rather than against it.”
The letter comes two weeks after Earnest said that Obama is interested in using executive actions to further his tax agenda. According to the chairman executive actions to this end would be a constitutional and political “mistake.”
“We have a rare chance in our nation’s recent history to reform the tax code, and we look forward to working with you in that effort,” the wrote. “While the Administration and Congress may have differing views on what that reform should look like, it is critical that we overcome those differences through negotiation and the constitutional system of checks and balances that have guided our nation for over two hundred years.”
They note that such negotiations will not be easy that it “will involve dialog, disagreement, and difficult choices. But it is the right course.”