By Elliot Jager
Sen. Ron Wyden is set to become the next head of the Senate Finance Committee if Montana Democrat Max Baucus retires as expected to become the next U.S. ambassador to China, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Oregon Democrat, respected in his party for his generally liberal views but described by Republicans as willing to reach accommodation across the aisle on economic issues, is expected to push for tax reform, which could include a substantial in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 24 percent, according to the Journal.
Bloomberg also reports another reason for Republicans to like him: he is “an ardent advocate of tax simplification,” favoring individual rates at 15, 25 and 35 percent.
Former New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, who worked with the 64-year-old Wyden on a tax reform measure some years back, told the Journal that Wyden has an “unrelenting positive outlook” on things and never gave up trying to hammer out a bipartisan bill even though it ultimately died without consideration.
Another House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, also said Wyden “understands that true bipartisanship builds on the best ideas from both parties.”
The Wisconsin Republican, who is likely to succeed Michigan Rep. Dave Camp as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, would have an opportunity to work with Wyden again next year if Republicans hold the House and Democrats hold the Senate. The two have worked in 2011 on Medicare reform plan, an effort that did not sit well with some of Wyden’s liberal colleagues, The Hill reported.
Wyden, however, has said that he has no plans to work with Ryan again on a Medicare reform effort, although the program remains one of his concerns. He reportedly believes that some effort has to be made to ensure that the program is more sustainable and more focused on chronic health problems.
“His big thing is that if you’re not talking about Medicare, you’re not talking about [fixing] the budget,” former Wyden aide Barbara Smith Warner told the Journal.
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