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Boehner on tax reform: ‘Blah, blah, blah blah’

"Blah, blah, blah, blah."

That was House Speaker John A. Boehner's response Wednesday to a question about the details of a proposed overhaul to the nation's tax code, a subject that he says he's happy to have Congress discuss even if he's steering clear of specifics.

He listed to the tea party. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The answer came in response to a question about the substance of a proposal that House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) plans to formally unveil Wednesday. The long-awaited simplification of the tax code would slash the top income tax rate to 25 percent from 39.6 percent and impose a surtax on some of the nation’s wealthiest households.

Boehner said Camp's proposal is just the start of a long-overdue debate.

"There's a conversation that needs to begin. This is the beginning of the conversation," he said. "The idea of tax reform is to get our economy going again, provide better, more economic growth, more jobs and higher wages. The way you do that is you bring down rates. And to bring down rates, you clean out a lot of the garbage that's in there and the special interest issues that are in it. I think we ought to have a real conversation and this is the beginning of that conversation."

Even if Boehner wants to talk about tax reform, the issue appears to be a non-starter for Republicans in the Senate, where Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that “I think we will not be able to finish the job, regretfully. I don't see how we can."

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

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