U.S. House speaker, Trump aides vow tax reform by end of 2017

Last Updated: Wed, Jun 21, 2017 01:03 hrs

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top Republicans from Congress and the Trump administration vowed on Tuesday to complete tax reform by the end of 2017, despite party infighting and political distractions from alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In a speech to U.S. manufacturers, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress hope to complete the job in the fall, with a new tax system in place by the beginning of 2018.

Republicans are promising the biggest tax overhaul since the Reagan era, saying a simplified system with tax cuts for individuals and businesses with international reforms for corporations can boost economic growth and create jobs.

"I am here to tell you we are going to get this done in 2017. Why are we going to get this done in 2017? Because we need to get this done in 2017," Ryan told a conference hosted by the National Association of Manufacturers, a powerful Washington lobby group.

"This will create jobs. That is what this is all about, jobs, jobs, jobs, good-paying jobs," he said.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Ryan’s speech was “a poor attempt to distract” from a lack of Republican initiatives on job creation.

The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress face mounting pressure from U.S. businesses and voters to deliver tax reform, a top 2016 campaign pledge that could determine whether Republicans retain control of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections.

It was not clear whether Republicans can overcome infighting over healthcare legislation and government spending to move forward on tax reform.

Earlier in the day, Vice President Mike Pence assured the same audience that tax reform would be done this year, in remarks echoed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a CNBC television interview.

Ryan and Mnuchin are among six officials trying to craft a tax deal in closed-door discussions and produce legislation as early as September. The others are Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, White House economic adviser Gary Cohn and the Republican chairmen of two tax committees.

“We’re comparing and contrasting various versions of reform to get the best possible one that gives us the lowest possible rates and most internationally competitive tax system, and the best one we can pass," Ryan told CNBC after his speech.

The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> is up nearly 20 percent while the S&P 500 <.SPX> has added 14 percent from Trump's November election to date, as investors bet he would spark economic growth by cutting taxes and boosting infrastructure spending.

The Trump administration and Republican leaders in Congress have agreed that tax reform should eliminate estate and alternative minimum taxes, both levies on the wealthy. They also want to allow U.S. corporations to repatriate trillions of dollars in profits held overseas at a reduced tax rate and eliminate taxes on future foreign profits.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)



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