Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee announced today he will not seek office again at the end of his term next year. One of the prime movers of the Affordable Care Act, it seems he decided it is time to end public service. He has been in the Senate since 1979 and served on the Finance Committee when I just started there also. I remember him as being a very congenial fellow. Cautious but aware on how things worked. A team player for the Democrats in most cases but he did support many of the major tax reductions of the last 20 years. (plus a lot of recent tax increases)
His decision to retire is very significant in the tax world. From the Chairmanship position--tax policy, social programs (like social security) and trade issues are deeply influenced. The Chairman also has increased clout over other members who come to him to curry approval for their favorite tax provision. Of course, the Chairman has an almost unrivaled ability to raise political funds from the business community.
Mr Baucus lost a bit of the usual influence some of the Chairmen in the past had, such as Russell Long, Robert Dole. This is due as much to his personality as it is to the confrontation politics of today. However, the pox on Senator Baucus will be his critical role in imposing ObamaCare. His recent " trainwreck" remarks about the unpopular health program were very telling. In essence, it will be his legacy.
So the Baucus reign is going to close out. Perhaps, it will be on a high note of meaningful and useful tax reform.