Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday the Trumpadministration plans to release a “major tax reform” plan “very soon,” regardless of the outcome of a healthcare overhaul bill.
“We hope that this won’t take until the end of the year,” said Mnuchin, speaking at a policy summit in Washington hosted by the Institute of International Finance. The administration has repeatedly stressed that tax reform is a top priority this year.
The fresh guidance comes on the heels of a recent interview with the Financial Times where the former Goldman Sachs banker backed away from his ambitious deadline of delivering a bill for the president to sign by August.
Stocks surged Thursday, with the gains really kicking into high gear after Mnuchin’s remarks. Solid earnings from American Express( and railroad operator )CSX( earlier in the day also helped. )
“This is a big priority for the president,” said Mnuchin, who described the upcoming reform plan as “sweeping” and something that would spur “a lot of economic growth.”
The treasury secretary said any revived attempt by the administration to overhaul health care would not stand in the way of completing tax reform this year.
“Whether health care gets done or health care doesn’t get done, we’re going to get tax reform done,” Mnuchin said.
Mnuchin said he hoped that there would be bipartisan support for a plan. But if the administration fails to reach consensus with Democrats, they would consider working through the reconciliation process to finalizetax reform.
The treasury secretary said he has been working since “day one” with policymakers on Capitol Hill, including Senate Finance Chairman Kevin Brady and other members of the panel. He said Senate lawmakers, so far, share the same objectives, including making U.S. business taxes more competitive.
When asked whether the reform plan would be “revenue neutral,” Mnuchin said the “deal will pay for itself.”
Mnuchin said much like the president’s campaign promise, his top priority is driving economic growth through tax reform and regulatory reform.
Trump has asked Mnuchin to review regulations and find ways to lessen the burden on businesses.The secretary said the review is going to go far beyond looking at the 2010 Dodd-Frank reform law, which the president has called horrendous. Treasury plans to release its report, which will detail the administrations’ recommendations, in June.
Mnuchin’s staff has already met with more than a dozen focus groups to hear ideas on areas of improvement, he said. He reiterated that the administration won’t throw out all the rules protecting the financial system in its review, reiterating the necessity for “proper regulation.” Their goal, he said, is to make sure regulatory reform frees banks to lend without putting taxpayers at risk.
One area in particular staff is considering changing is a provision in the reform law that serves as a backstop for regulators in the event of a firm’s collapse.
He said there are “big concerns” with regulators’ authority because the administration doesn’t want to support a too-big-to-fail policy. But for now, he said, the bankruptcy code as written would be an inefficient tool to wind down a bank overnight.
Mnuchin said it would “a little bit premature” to provide any further details on which direction the administration might recommend.