ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Welcome to the “Max and Dave Show,” a campaign-style swing around the country featuring two of the most powerful members of Congress rallying support for their effort to overhaul the nation’s tax laws — and, just maybe, change the way Washington works.
Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, and Rep. Dave Camp, a Republican from Michigan, are Washington’s newest power couple — and an odd one during these politically deadlocked days in Washington. They are lawmakers of different states, different parties and they’re a decade in age apart. Yet, Camp and Baucus are developing a close friendship as they try to rally other lawmakers to their cause.
Their secret: Burgers, beer and a culture of working toward public policy answers that Americans seem to want in Washington — even when there’s no solution in sight.
“Dave’s my buddy,” Baucus told a gathering of workers at 3M, the Minnesota-based maker of everything from Scotch tape to electronic touch screens. “My comrade.”
These days, you don’t often hear Democrats talk that way about Republicans, or see campaign-style events for a topic as dry as tax reform. But the pair have a common goal for an overhaul they believe is long overdue. And tax policy, to them, is exciting for all that is wrong and could be improved about it. So beginning last week in Minnesota, Baucus and Camp began barnstorming the country, employing a similar burgers-and-beer strategy that’s worked for them with colleagues in Washington.
“You have to have some basis to deal with each other to work together,” Camp said in an interview. “What we’re trying to do is create that foundation so that we are going to be able to work together on a very important bill that could have profound beneficial effects for the country.”
At issue is a tax system that many inside and outside of Congress say is too complicated for individuals and too onerous for businesses. The broad goal of tax reform is to simplify the code by eliminating or reducing tax breaks and using the additional revenue to lower tax rates for everyone. More…