Mnuchin: It’s ‘Highly Aggressive To Not Realistic’ To Expect Tax Law By August

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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Monday that it would require a “highly aggressive to not realistic” schedule for President Donald Trump to sign a tax bill before Congress breaks for recess in August.

In February, Mnuchin told CNBC that he wanted to see “very significant” tax reform “done by the August recess.”

“It started as [an] aggressive timeline,” Mnuchin said in an interview with the Financial Times published Monday, referring to the August deadline. “It is fair to say it is probably delayed a bit because of the health care.” 

The Trump administration and congressional leadership originally planned to repeal and replace Obamacare before approaching a tax bill, as the health care effort would fundamentally change the tax landscape. The party will face an existential crisis of sorts if it fails to achieve either policy priority.

On March 24, the same day the GOP’s American Health Care Act failed to garner sufficient Republican support for a vote, Mnuchin told Axios’ Mike Allen that tax reform was “much simpler” than health care reform, and that Republicans would propose a tax bill in one comprehensive piece, rather than in incremental measures.

Mnuchin also told FT that Trump’s recent comments that the U.S. dollar was too strong didn’t mean the President supports devaluing American currency. Last week, Trump told the Wall Street Journal that it’s “very, very hard to compete when you have a strong dollar and other countries are devaluing their currency.” In the same interview, Trump reversed his pledge to declare China a currency manipulator.

“The President was making a factual comment about the strength of the dollar in the short term,” Mnuchin told FT. “There’s a big difference between talk and action.”