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Boehner wants tax reform on super committee menu

Sep 15, 2011, 10:11 a.m.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top Republican on Thursday will call on a special congressional committee to consider tax reform that would close loopholes but not raise rates as part of its bid to cut the deficit, an aide said.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner also will say in a speech that the "super committee" should consider changes to benefits programs like Medicare and Social Security, according to a summary provided by his office.

In addition, Boehner will deliver what promises to be the most comprehensive Republican response yet to President Barack Obama's proposed $447 billion jobs creation plan. Republicans so far have said they could accept some elements of that plan but have rejected the tax increases on the wealthy that Obama has proposed to pay for it.

Boehner will argue that Republicans and Democrats should work together to reduce business regulations and lower taxes and spending to boost job creation and economic growth, according to his office.

The super committee is expected to take a close look at the tax code and benefits as it works to trim at least $1.2 trillion from annual budget deficits over a 10-year period.

The committee must finish its work by November 23, and many observers say it would be hard pressed to finish a comprehensive rewrite of the tax code by then. But the panel could lay out the broad outlines of tax reform and instruct other lawmakers to fill in the details.

Republicans and Democrats broadly agree on the need to eliminate some of the loopholes and exemptions that cost the government about $1 trillion in lost revenue each year.

But they disagree about the details -- particularly how much the tax system would raise in revenue, and what the top income-tax rate should be.

Boehner is due to deliver the speech at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) at the Economic Club of Washington.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan and Thomas Ferraro; editing by Vicki Allen)

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