Sen. Orrin Hatch will take control of the Senate Finance Committee when the new Congress is sworn in next year. What can we expect when he takes the gavel?
Hatch should get one of his legislative priorities fairly quickly – repealing a medicial device sales tax that's part of the Affordable Care Act.
Politico also expects him to make progress on the "fast track" trade legislation as well.
Both of Hatch’s top legislative priorities are good opportunities to reach across the aisle. He may be far from Democrats on most elements of the Affordable Care Act but he will certainly find support for the medical device tax repeal. Many Democrats remain skeptical of further efforts to expand free trade agreements, but there is enough general support for allowing the administration greater negotiating power to move fast track ahead in the Senate.
There could also be pressure on Hatch to move forward on some sort of tax overhaul to lower rates, particularly for corporations, which Republicans and businesses complain face among the highest statutory rates in the industrialized world. Hatch had worked with former Democratic finance chairman Sen. Max Baucus and current top finance Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden is interested in the effort. It will be a heavy lift with a presidential election looming, but there could be movement.
However, Hatch will have to do battle with Sens. Harry Ried and Chuck Schumer who will try to thwart his efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.