Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Senior Ways and Means Member Blasts White House Tax Scheme

Mar 5, 2015
Press Release
Buchanan Reminds President That Only Congress Can Alter Tax Code

Constitution Prevents President From Raising Taxes Via Executive Action 

Article 1, Section 8:  "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes..."

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a senior member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, strongly objected today to President Obama's stated "interest" in raising taxes through executive action.

In releasing the text of his letter, Buchanan reminded the White House that, "we have a document called the United States Constitution that clearly spells out which branch of government has the authority to "lay and collect taxes," -- and it is the Congress -- not the President."

Buchanan also sent a copy of the letter to Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew.

You can view the letter HERE

The text of the letter is below:


March 5, 2015

The Honorable Barack Obama

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing to express my strongest possible objection at reports that you are “very interested” in raising taxes through executive action.

Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution is clear on this matter — only Congress has the power to tax. The statement by your press secretary this week that you are “very interested” in reshaping the tax code through unilateral action would be a clear violation of the Constitution and continue a disturbing lack of bipartisanship. 

As a senior member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, I stand ready to work with your administration on a bipartisan plan to lower rates and simplify the tax code.

I remind you that the last successful tax reform effort, nearly 30 years ago, required President Reagan and a Democratic Congress to find common ground.  But unilateral action could poison the well of goodwill that is necessary to tackle this urgent challenge in a bipartisan manner.

Our international tax system is in desperate need of reform.  U.S. companies face stiff competition from foreign firms, our national debt has grown to more than $18 trillion, and we have too few good-paying jobs for American workers.  Addressing these issues has to be the guiding principle for international tax reform.

We need to fundamentally reform our tax code to make America more competitive.  We may have different opinions about specific elements of such reform.  But by working together to find common ground, we can ensure that all Americans reap the benefits of tax reform.  



Vern Buchanan

Member of Congress


cc: The Honorable Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of the Treasury