Deadline Extended for Tax Reform Panel; New GOP Social Security Initiative

Presidential panel now has until September 30 for report; proposal would fund personal accounts

The President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform announced June 16 that the deadline for presenting its report to the U.S. Treasury Secretary has been extended from July 31 to September 30, 2005, following an Executive Order issued on that same day by President Bush. The bipartisan panel, charged with "recommending reforms to the tax code that will make the U.S. tax system simpler, fairer and more growth-oriented,"and co-chaired by former senators Connie Mack and John Breaux, had been announced with much fanfare last January as one of the President's priorities for his second term.

However, Reuters quoted Treasury Department spokesman Taylor Griffin on June 16 as saying that "The administration and Congress are focused on a broad range of key presidential and congressional priorities over the remaining five weeks of the summer legislative session," and thus the delay was instituted.

One of those "key presidential priorities" is clearly Social Security reform. On June 22, four members of the House Social Security Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee--Jim McCrery (R-LA), Clay Shaw (R-FL), Sam Johnson (R-TX), and Paul Ryan (R-WI)--outlined a proposal under which the current Social Security surplus would be used to fund the President's "personal accounts" in Social Security. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) announced his support for the plan, known as GROW accounts--for Growing Real Ownership for Workers.

A summary of the GROW plan is available here.

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