HELENA, Mont. -

U.S. Sen. Max Baucus has just 16 months left in office, but he isn't letting that stop him from plowing ahead on an aggressive plan to rewrite the nation's tax code.
    
His "blank slate" approach requires backers of individual credits and deductions to argue for their inclusion in a revamped system.
    
Although Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has collected some key allies - he also has some high-profile opponents. Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is not even going to consider a request for help on the proposal.
    
Baucus, however, following a meeting of an advisory panel he convened in his home state, responded to skeptics with a cool confidence, saying his plan is certain to pass and he expects a bill to be ready this fall.