Jack Lew: Expecting tax reform before Dec. 31 is 'optimistic'

Expecting Congress to approve tax reform legislation before the end of the year is optimistic, former Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew says.

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“Doing tax reform is hard, that’s not a surprise to anyone,” Lew, who worked under President Barack Obama, told FOX Business’ Liz Claman on ‘Countdown to the Closing Bell.’ “It’s technically hard, it’s politically even harder.”

Since the Republican-controlled Congress failed to deliver on its seven-year promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, pressure has increasingly mounted on Republicans to pass some type of comprehensive tax reform.

And on Wednesday, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) suggested that a framework for tax reform could be completed by the week of Sept. 25, though he did not include specific details.

During a meeting with a bipartisan group of congressman Wednesday, President Donald Trump said he’d like to see tax reform include the corporate tax rate reduced to 15% and tax cuts for the middle-class, adding that he does not plan on lowering taxes for the wealthy.

“The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan,” he said during the meeting, which was held at the White House.

What tax reform looks like may depend on the type of role Democrats play in creating the proposal, Lew said. Democrats want to see real reform -- not just cuts, Lew said.

“I think you have to make a choice,” he said. “You put together very different proposals if your goal is to get bipartisan support or if your goal is to get one party support.”