Rep. Brady to head energy tax reform effort

Rep. Kevin Brady is a busy man these days. He’s chairing Congress’ Joint Economic Committee. He’s heading up the House Ways & Means Committee Health Subcommittee.

Now he’s taking on new and significant responsibilities: He’s been asked by House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp to coordinate a bipartisan task force looking at energy-related provisions of the tax code.

Brady’s intensive mission — the deadline is tax day, April 15 — is to study how comprehensive tax reform should affect the energy sector of the U.S. economy.

The Republican from The Woodlands said his goal is to modernize energy tax code provisions — some of which date to 1913 and 1914 — to focus on “making it more competitive globally.” The reform mix could include lower rates and closing loopholes, he said.

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Brady said the energy industry currently pays an effective tax rate of 40 percent, compared to 25 percent for most other businesses.

“If we want lower rates and we want a simpler tax code, the status quo is not an option,” he said in an interview with Texas on the Potomac this morning.

Brady’s Democratic partner in the tax-reform exercise is Rep. Mike Thompson, a California Democrat.

The Texas Republican said he and Thompson are “not expected to come to a consensus.” Instead, their goal is to “identify key questions that the committee should be asking” as it pursues comprehensive tax reform this year.

“Chairman Camp is dead serious about moving fundamental [tax] reform this year,” Brady said.