Steven Mnuchin: Trump's new tax reform plan coming 'very soon'

Breaking down Trump's budget proposal
Breaking down Trump's budget proposal

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin remains confident that tax reform will happen this year, if not by August as he originally predicted, then definitely by the fall, he said Friday.

"We'll come out with a plan very soon," Mnuchin said in an interview with Axios cofounder Mike Allen.

The Trump administration has been working for the past two months on proposals to redesign the tax code from "scratch," Mnuchin said.

The Treasury Secretary indicated that the new Trump tax plan won't adopt the House Republicans' controversial proposal for a border adjustment tax, at least not wholesale.

"There are certain aspects that are attractive and certain aspects that are concerning," he said.

When it comes to taxing the rich, Mnuchin seemed to soften somewhat his dramatic promise made before his confirmation -- that there would be "no absolute tax cut for the upper class" because any reduction they might get from lower tax rates would be offset by giving them fewer tax breaks.

Instead, he told Allen, "Our primary focus is a tax cut on middle income and not the top 1%. We're working toward that as a goal. Don't hold me to that to the penny. But that's the direction we're going in."

Related: 6 reasons tax reform may not happen this year

Mnuchin's comments were made as House Republican leadership and the Trump Administration scrambled to scrape together enough votes for a highly controversial bill that partially repeals and replaces Obamacare.

He indicated that politically he thinks tax reform would be a much easier lift because Republicans share common goals -- to simplify the code, provide tax cuts and make U.S. businesses more competitive.

That's a view, however, that few with any experience crafting tax reform share. Having generally agreed upon goals is certainly critical. But passing tax reform involves agreeing on countless details and selling the plan to all constituents, even those who might be on the losing end of key changes.

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