Watch CBSN Live

Treasury spokesman Tony Sayegh: Tax reform push should bypass partisan politics

Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh is optimistic that tax reform, the next big push for the Trump administration, can be achieved with bipartisan support.

"I'll be candid… one of the areas of agreement in even contentious times in the Obama administration was that our corporate tax rate is way too high," Sayegh said on the latest episode of "The Takeout" podcast. "And it's made us uncompetitive. I mean, that is a point that both Republicans and Democrats largely agree on. We're going to really tackle that tax rate."

Listen to this episode on Stitcher

Sayegh's boss, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn have spent the last few months speaking with over 200 members of Congress, including Democrats, and hundreds of business leaders, trade associations, home builders and manufacturers in order to whip up support for their tax plan. 

But how do you get at least 50 votes in the Senate, especially after efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare failed to garner the support of all Republican senators?

"There is no more greater multiplier of revenue than economic growth," Sayegh argued, over a Trout Parmesan meal with CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett and Political Director Steve Chaggaris. "And that is the bottom line. And we again are forecasting some serious growth projections being able to be achieved if you enact tax reform."

In April, the administration put out a one-page document laying out a rough blueprint of their goals: Reduce seven tax brackets to three and repeal the alternative minimum and death taxes for individuals, as well as cut the "business tax rate" down to 15 percent. They also promised that more details would emerge in the coming months. Sayegh says those are still being ironed out.

For now, the administration expects to get a cohesive bill in front of the House and Senate committees of jurisdiction in the beginning of September, with mark-up completed by the first half of the month. After an effort to merge a House and Senate tax reform bill together, "it's going to get done" by late October or November, Sayegh said.

"It's going to get done this year. That is the emphasis, that is the focus, and that is what we have been working toward."

For more from Major and Steve's conversation with Tony Sayegh, download this week's podcast on iTunesStitcherGoogle Play, or Spotify. Also, you can watch this week's episode on CBSN Friday andSaturday nights at 9pm ET/PT. New episodes are available via podcast every Friday morning.

FacebookTwitterInstagram: @takeoutpodcast


Produced by: Arden Farhi and Katiana Krawchenko

View CBS News In