Newly-installed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that the administration’s goal is to pass tax reform before August, setting an aggressive timeline for pushing through legislation.

“We want to get this done by the August recess,” Mnuchin said in an interview on CNBC. He said tax reform was the No. 1 priority for improving U.S. economic growth.

Citing consensus on the broad outlines of a tax plan with Senate and House Republicans, Mnuchin suggested that the eventual legislative product would be a “combined plan.”

The Trump administration has said that it would produce a plan in a matter of weeks.

Mnuchin said Thursday that the focus of the plan would be on middle-class tax reductions, simplification, and business competitiveness.

Trump’s campaign proposal, however, called for major high-end tax cuts. Mnuchin has indicated an interest in seeing any tax rate cuts for high earners offset by taking away deductions.

Mnuchin said he is “looking closely” at the House GOP’s plan to adjust taxes at the border, which has upset retailers and introduced some divisions within the party. There are “some very interesting aspects of it, some concerns about it,” he said. The administration is reaching out to businesses directly to learn more about it, he said.

Asked whether the tax reform would lose revenues for the federal government, Mnuchin responded that the Treasury would analyze the plan using the assumption that tax reform would accelerate growth and generate new revenues to make up for tax cuts.

“My guess is that our growth assumptions will be higher than what they use to score the plan,” he said, referring to Congress’ scorekeepers. Trump’s campaign plan contemplated losing trillions over 10 years in revenues.

VA secretary: Some employees are 'going to be fired'

Also from the Washington Examiner

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin pledged Thursday to fire VA workers who need to be fired in order to ensure the troubled agency can deliver on its promise to veterans.

“Watch us,” Shulkin said in a Fox News interview with Pete Hegseth. “People who don’t show up to work, who do cocaine and are watching porn at work are going to be fired, because I’m not going to tolerate it, and they’re going to be out of our system.”

The VA has been criticized heavily over the past few years for only firing a handful of people involved in the healthcare scandal, which involved the systematic delay of medical care to veterans across the country.

Less than a dozen people were fired over the last two years, but many were allowed

02/23/17 7:24 AM

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