Mnuchin Says Trump Administration Will Release Tax Proposal 'Very Soon' -- 2nd Update

By Kate Davidson and Ian Talley Features Dow Jones Newswires

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday the administration plans to release its tax reform proposal "very soon" and promised a sweeping overhaul of the tax code will get done.

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Speaking at a conference of international financial firms in Washington, Mr. Mnuchin said Treasury is "pretty close to being able to bring forward what's going to be major tax reform."

"This will be the most significant change to the tax code since Reagan," he said, adding that the plan "will pay for itself" by boosting economic growth.

Mr. Mnuchin said he has been meeting weekly with House and Senate lawmakers and that the three groups have the same objectives: to simplify individual taxes, create middle-income tax cuts to spur the economy and make U.S. business taxes competitive. If the plan doesn't garner enough support from Democratic lawmakers, Mr. Mnuchin said, Republicans could advance the plan using a budget maneuver known as reconciliation, a procedural shortcut that would allow legislation to pass with just a simple majority.

The secretary said the administration is particularly worried about the potential effects of the House-proposed border adjustment tax meant to help offset revenue losses from tax cuts. "We're concerned about the impact on currency," he said at the Institute of International Finance conference. It could push up the dollar, which could hurt exports, he said. Alternatively, "if the currency doesn't correct, you have price appreciation and inflation, particularly for consumers."

He also said he expects Congress to raise the debt ceiling with bipartisan support, hopefully before the summer

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Write to Kate Davidson at kate.davidson@wsj.com and Ian Talley at ian.talley@wsj.com

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday the Trump administration plans to release its tax reform proposal "very soon" and promised that a sweeping overhaul of the tax code will get done.

Speaking at a conference of international financial firms in Washington, Mr. Mnuchin said Treasury is "pretty close to being able to bring forward what's going to be major tax reform."

"This will be the most significant change to the tax code since Reagan," he said, adding that the plan "will pay for itself" by boosting economic growth.

National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, speaking at the same conference, said he has been working closely with Mr. Mnuchin on a proposal that would tackle both individual and corporate parts of the tax code.

"We are going to come out with a unified, united tax proposal from the White House that will include individual as well as corporate," he said.

Mr. Cohn said Thursday the administration hadn't decided if it would propose tax changes that would be revenue neutral, but they want changes to the corporate tax code to be permanent. If the administration plans to pass legislation using a procedural tool that requires a 51-vote majority in the Senate, any tax changes would expire after a decade if they added to deficits.

It wouldn't be as meaningful, Mr. Cohn said, to provide businesses with changes to the tax code that sunset after a decade. "They need some permanence in the tax code," he added.

Mr. Mnuchin said he has been meeting weekly with House and Senate lawmakers and that the three groups have the same objectives: to simplify individual taxes, create middle-income tax cuts to spur the economy and make U.S. business taxes competitive.

If the plan doesn't garner enough support from Democratic lawmakers, Mr. Mnuchin said, Republicans could advance the plan using a budget maneuver known as reconciliation, a procedural shortcut that would allow legislation to pass with just a simple majority.

The secretary said the administration is particularly worried about the potential effects of the House-proposed border adjustment tax meant to help offset revenue losses from tax cuts.

"We're concerned about the impact on currency," he said at the Institute of International Finance conference. It could push up the dollar, which could hurt exports, he said. Alternatively, "if the currency doesn't correct, you have price appreciation and inflation, particularly for consumers."

Mr. Mnuchin also said he expects Congress to raise the debt ceiling with bipartisan support, hopefully before the summer.

Write to Kate Davidson at kate.davidson@wsj.com and Ian Talley at ian.talley@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 20, 2017 16:25 ET (20:25 GMT)