Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

White House Isn't Sweating Details of Tax Overhaul Bill Administration Narrative Echoed

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

White House Isn't Sweating Details of Tax Overhaul Bill Administration Narrative Echoed

Article excerpt

As the Congress sets the stage for a long and contentious debate over the tax overhaul, the White House is confident that the overall framework - if not every detail - will pass and be signed into law by year end.

And the details don't much matter to the administration, said Budget Director Mick Mulvaney in Washington, as long as the end result reduces individual taxes through a simpler revenue code and cuts corporate taxes to a rate not exceeding 20 percent. In Columbus, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had the same message in an address to the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

"As long as those two things are preserved, we're likely to support anything" that Congress can pass, Mr. Mulvaney told a small group of reporters at the White House on Tuesday.

"The House and the Senate fundamentally have the same plan," Mr. Mnuchin said. "While there are slight variations, it's the same objectives."

Both predicted President Donald Trump will sign a tax overhaul package into law by year's end.

The House and Senate are operating on separate tracks with the lower chamber expected to vote Thursday and the upper chamber sometime after Thanksgiving.

The bill doesn't even have to nix the Affordable Care Act's individual insurance mandate, Mr. Mulvaney said. Repeal was added to the mix Tuesday as an apparent sweetener for anti-Obamacare Republicans in high-tax states who are on the fence because of how the framework handles write-offs for state and local taxes.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., is among the backers of the effort to use the tax legislation as a vehicle for repealing the mandate.

The White House isn't taking a firm position on including it in the tax bill, although it does support repeal generally.

"We want the best tax bill that can pass. If adding a repeal of the individual mandate makes it able to pass, great," Mr. Mulvaney said as he took questions 1 miles away from the Capitol, where House and Senate Republicans were working to advance the separate plans.

The plans differ in the number of tax brackets, the top tax rates, allowable deductions, amount of estate-tax deduction and implementation date, for example. …

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