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U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin today insisted that the White House has "a very detailed" tax plan, in an interview with CNBC. But, like President Trump during his tax speech yesterday in Missouri, he declined to provide any specific details.

Mnuchin's reference to settled differences between the White House and Congress stands in contrast to what sources have told Axios, who add that plenty of significant specifics still need to be hammered out.

More interview highlights:

  • Tax timeline: Mnuchin says that details should become publicly available by the end of September with a bill passed by year-end. He acknowledged, however, earlier comments that tax reform would be done by the Congressional August recess. "Unfortunately, things got delayed a bit."
  • Balance sheet: Mnuchin says that President Trump is "absolutely committed to revenue neutrality" in the tax plan, but that only applies under the White House's optimistic economic growth projections. In other words, it sounds like Trump would sign a bill that is not revenue-neutral under more modest estimates.
  • Debt ceiling: Mnuchin reaffirmed that Sept. 29 is when the U.S. will reach the current debt ceiling, although says it could move a few days in either direction due to both Hurricane Harvey and Sept. 15 corporate tax receipts. He also reaffirmed his preference for a "clean" debt ceiling increase.
  • Dollar strength: Mnuchin says that while a weaker U.S. currency can provide a short-term boost to trade figures, he believes the long-term value of a strong dollar is that it projects broader durability of the U.S. economy.
  • Economic impact of the U.S. leaving NAFTA: "I'm not going to make any comments yet because I think the expectation is we will renegotiate in a way that is good for us an good for them."
  • Replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill: "It's not something I'm focused on at the moment."

Go deeper

7 mins ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: US National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.