“Tax Reform” Probably Isn’t Happening This Year

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Congressional Republicans and White House officials have delayed the introduction of "tax reform" until August of this year, but it looks like Speaker Paul Ryan's package of tax cuts for the rich will have to wait even longer.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke to the Financial Times and said their soft deadline is unrealistic.

Mnuchin told the Financial Times that the timeline is “highly aggressive to not realistic at this point.” He had been the first administration official to predict August passage, which was widely considered unrealistic given the complexities and politics involved.

“It is fair to say it is probably delayed a bit because of the health care” maneuvering, Mnuchin said in the interview. He said he still expects tax reform to get done in 2017.

Here's a spoiler: if it's not done by August, it's never going to happen.

What makes me so sure of that?

As you may know, Congress will not be in session in August. The House of Representatives will depart from Washington on July 28th and will not return until September 5th and, when they return, they will have just 12 days of session to fund the federal government in fiscal 2018 which begins on October 1st.

As you may also know, congressional Republicans haven't even begun talking about fiscal 2018.

Actually, they haven't even funded the federal government beyond next Friday, the 28th.

Technically, I suppose they could pass a massive package of tax cuts before the end of the year, but government spending levels will have already been determined. It's simply impractical to put the cart before the horse.

  • Ceoltoir

    The House Freedom Caucus wants as part of the Law that poor people need to pay back their refunds for the last decade, give over a pint of blood and a severed finger. The more moderate republicans are saying that the finger is unnecessary which is a deal breaker.

  • Aynwrong

    The greatest protection this country has is going to be the fact that elected Republicans legislators aren’t competent enough to find their own asses if they used both hands.

  • muselet


    As full-blown tax reform looks more and more like an unreachable stretch, there’s increasing conversation on the Hill about what’s being called a “candy option” — all the goodies, with none of the pain.

    That would mean lower personal and corporate rates, plus some limited repatriation, funded largely by deficit spending.

    Remember when Rs went apoplectic about the deficit? Remember when an increasing national debt was a scandal! just shy of an impeachable offense?

    Funny how those concerns just evaporated like the morning dew as soon as Rs took control of the government, isn’t it?


    • Aynwrong

      Funny and typical.

      As Driftglass has said many times, when G Dubs was in the White House the R’s couldn’t spell the word deficit.