The incoming chairman of the Senate Finance Committee says he will make revamping the federal income tax system a top priority.
Sen. Ron Wyden added that he would also focus on creating jobs for the middle class and strengthening the guaranteed benefits of Medicare while holding down costs.
The Oregon Democrat termed the income tax system a "dysfunctional, rotten mess." He says he hopes to extend tax breaks that expired in December and use them to bridge comprehensive changes. He made his comments in a telephone interview from Los Angeles on Friday.
Wyden is currently chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He's expected to be named Finance Committee chairman next week to replace Sen. Max Baucus. The Montana Democrat was confirmed Thursday as ambassador to China.