Face time is key to the effort in Washington and beyond.
The Montana senator says he is on track to meet individually with every member of the Senate by the end of the month. Camp is trying to forge bipartisan relationships on the Ways and Means Committee by pairing small groups of Republicans and Democrats to develop options for addressing different parts of the tax law.
Every few weeks, Baucus and Camp invite about a dozen lawmakers to lunch at a Capitol Hill pub, always a mix of Democrats and Republicans, senators and House members.
Camp and Baucus have dubbed their lunches "burgers and beer," and the location -- a pub called Kelly's Irish Times -- has historic significance. Former Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., is credited with helping to rescue the 1986 tax reform package with a plan he devised over two pitchers of beer at the pub. At the time, Packwood was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, a position now held by Baucus.
"Part of it is, we've been so polarized in this town, this Congress for so many years, many of us don't know each other," Baucus said. "A burger and beers makes a lot more sense to me than a fancy dinner."
Camp and Baucus have held two lunches so far. The latest was Tuesday, and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, was there. She said Camp and Baucus are setting a good example for other lawmakers.
"There was a time when members of Congress moved their families to Washington, and they got to know each other. Their kids went to school together, they went to church together, they socialized together," Jenkins said. "We don't do that anymore. Our constituents demand that we be in church with them on Sunday."
Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., was at the lunch, too.
"It's when preparation meets opportunity that something can happen, and that preparation just happens to coincide with knowing your colleagues," Larson said. "And knowing them not like, 'Hey, let's go out and have a beer.' I'm talking about knowing them in terms of going through what the issues are."
Camp says he is committed to passing a tax reform bill out of the Ways and Means Committee by the end of the year. There is no guarantee the full House would vote on a bill. But Boehner has signaled his support for the effort by reserving the prestigious bill number HR 1 for a tax overhaul measure.
In the Senate, Baucus is teaming with Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, to write a new tax code, almost from scratch. Instead of trying to figure out which tax breaks to scrap, Baucus and Hatch are starting with a blank slate and inviting other senators to make the case for restoring various deductions, credits and exemptions.
In a question-and-answer session with 3M workers, Fred Palensky, the company's chief technology officer, hit on a theme that Baucus and Camp will have to deal with.
Palensky said he has met with members of Congress in the past and, on an individual basis, they seem like reasonable, sensible people. What happens to them when they get together back in Washington? Palensky asked Camp and Baucus.
"We're trying to break, frankly, the Washington method of operation," Baucus said. "Most people in the country want us to work together. Not the Washington way, which is gridlock, but the American way, which is work together and get things done."