Mnuchin says tax reform won't happen before August

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  April 18, 2017 at 7:36 AM
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April 18 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin suggested tax reform will not likely occur by August due to the failure to pass healthcare reform in Congress.

Mnuchin told the Financial Times on Monday that passing tax reforms through Congress for President Donald Trump to sign by August was "highly aggressive to not realistic at this point." Mnuchin, the former Goldman Sachs executive, insisted tax reform would occur before 2018.

In March, though, Mnuchin said his goal was to have a tax bill signed by August.

"It started as [an] aggressive timeline," Mnuchin said. "It is fair to say it is probably delayed a bit because of the healthcare."

Mnuchin's comment did not affect bond markets as traders for weeks have become increasingly skeptical that the federal government would adopt any pro-growth policy this year, which has caused bond yields to fall for weeks.

CNBC reported Mnuchin's comment did not surprise markets. Stocks rallied hard following his comments that the Treasury Department is looking to raise funds to pay for the tax plan without implementing a border-adjustment tax -- a proposal to place a 20 percent tax on all imports but not tax exports.

Last week, Trump said he wants to pass healthcare reform before focusing on tax reform.

"We're going to have a phenomenal tax reform, but I have to do healthcare first," Trump said. "I want to do it first to really do it right."

Trump said he did not want to "put deadlines" on passing either healthcare or tax reform but he said "healthcare's gonna happen at some point," adding that passing healthcare reform would save money and make it easier to pass a tax overhaul.

But Trump suggested he was not fully committed to that order.

"Now, if it doesn't happen fast enough, I'll start the taxes," Trump said. "But the tax reform and the tax cuts are better if I can do healthcare first."

The American Health Care Act, the Republican's first effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, did not have enough support and was pulled before it made it to the House floor for a vote.

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