Aug 31, 2017

Steve Mnuchin insists there is a tax plan

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."

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