Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin admitted Monday that getting a tax reform bill to President Trump's desk by August is "not realistic." Mnuchin himself originally set the deadline in late February, just a week after he was sworn in to lead the Treasury Department.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Mnuchin said the late summer deadline was "highly aggressive to not realistic at this point," citing the failed health-care negotiations last month as part of the reason for the delay. Instead, the Treasury chief said he expected a tax overhaul by the end of 2017.
In an interview with Fox News that aired last week, Trump also seemed to waffle on the ambitious timeline. In a discussion about health-care reform, the president said, "I don't want to put deadlines. Health care is gonna happen at some point. Now, if it doesn't happen fast enough, I'm gonna start taxes. Tax reform and tax cuts are better if I do health care first." Trump backed the Republican-led American Health Care Act, which failed last month.
The White House initially signaled it would move on to tax reform even without a health-care overhaul, but in recent weeks efforts have been taken to restart failed health-care talks. Significant tax reform has not been completed since 1986.