Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says tax reform unlikely to happen by August

Steven Mnuchin testifies before a Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be Treasury secretary in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2017. 

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is changing his tune on how soon Congress might be able to pass a tax reform package.

In an interview with the Financial Times this week, Mnuchin said that his original prediction that lawmakers would get tax reform to President Trump’s desk by August was “highly aggressive to not realistic at this point.”

“It started as [an] aggressive timeline,” he told FT. “It is fair to say it is probably delayed a bit because of the healthcare.”

Mnuchin still expressed confidence that Congress would be able to overhaul the tax system this year. In February, he had predicted that lawmakers would pass tax reform before they leave on their annual summer recess in August.

His February comments came in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, and he conceded at the time, “That’s an ambitious timeline. It could slip to later in the year.”

Last month Republicans failed to pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare because House GOP leaders failed to secure enough votes in the lower chamber to pass the bill. Afterward, Republicans said they were eyeing tax reform as the next major item on their agenda and planning to use the budget reconciliation process to push it through the House and Senate. The obscure budget procedure allows the Senate to pass certain legislation with a simple majority and not a supermajority of 60 senators.

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.