U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, on Friday said Congress must overhaul the tax code to avoid a financial collapse in the United States.
Jenkins also told the Lawrence Journal-World that she didn’t believe Congress should consider any new laws on guns.
Some have called for consideration of new firearms regulations after the shooting deaths of 12 people in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater. A 24-year-old man, James Holmes, is accused of opening fire on the theater crowd. Police have said Holmes had legally purchased four guns and ammunition, including a high-capacity clip, he used in the shooting that also injured 58 people.
“What was the problem there isn’t a problem that Congress can fix,” Jenkins said. “If crazed individuals want to hurt people they will find a way to hurt people.”
On the issue of tax reform, Jenkins said, “It has to happen. We are so close to being Greece, it’s not even funny. We can either fall off the cliff or we can fix it.”
Her comments on taxes were made during a roundtable discussion at the Eldridge Hotel with business and community leaders that was set up by the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.
Jenkins described the current tax code as “broken,” adding, “it needs to be thrown out the window.”
Earlier this week, the Senate voted 51-48, mostly along party lines, to support President Barack Obama’s plan to let the President George W. Bush-era income tax cuts for top earners expire, but to extend for one year the cuts for individual income up to $200,000 per year and married couples earning up to $250,000 per year.
Jenkins said the Republican-led House next week will approve a measure to keep in place the income tax cuts for one more year for all income levels. During that year, Congress will work on overhauling the tax system under the plan.
She said House Republicans are proposing to lower corporate taxes to “repatriate” offshore funds that are “trapped” in other countries. The plan also would set two income brackets for individuals at 10 percent and 25 percent and eliminate loopholes “that only the very wealthy take advantage of,” she said. It would also repeal the alternative minimum tax, she said.
Jenkins, who is a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, said Republicans and Democrats are working together.
“You would be surprised about how close we are,” she said.
Jenkins is seeking a third term in office and is unopposed in the Aug. 7 Republican primary. Three candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination. They are Scott Barnhart, a farmer from Ottawa; Robert Eye, a lawyer from Lawrence; and Tobias Schlingensiepen, a pastor from Topeka.