Republican-majority Congress scales back tax reform hopes

For the first time in eight years, Republicans in January will control both chambers of Congress, and atop the GOP’s agenda is reforming the massive, complex and highly unpopular federal tax code.

But with Barack Obama in the White House and enough Democrats in the Senate to uphold a filibuster, Republican lawmakers are quietly playing down any hope of comprehensive tax reform and instead have set their sights on just the corporate portion of the tax code.

“I don’t think you can get the individual side of the tax code done next year,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Holtz-Eakin, who once served as President George W. Bush’s top economic adviser and is now president of American Action Forum, a center-right think tank, noted the wide gulf between President Obama and congressional Republicans on how to go about reforming the individual tax code.