WASHINGTON – The Trump Administration’s top guy spearheading policy, budget, and regulations for the White House said he is optimistic Congress will pass a tax reform bill and send it to President Donald Trump’s desk come December.
Trump would especially like to see the tax code simplified and the corporate rate cut to 15 percent.
When asked if the administration might be willing to budge on that number, Mulvaney simply answered: “Nothing is set in stone in Washington.”
“But if you ask the President what his priorities are on the tax reform bill specifically, that 15 percent rate is absolutely critical to us,” he continued.
On the topic of healthcare, Mulvaney said the administration fully supports the Graham-Cassidy reform bill which needs 50 votes to pass the Senate.
“If you ask me how many votes it has as of today, 48, 49 maybe,” Mulvaney said.
If the legislation makes it to the House, Speaker Paul Ryan has expressed confidence that it will pass.
The bill has yet to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office, a process Mulvaney doesn’t give much credence.
“While their data is required, it’s been wrong a lot in the past,” he declared.
Another continued priority for Trump: building the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
“The wall absolutely continues to be a priority for the President,” Mulvaney offered.
Browder asked him if the new budget will include funding for it.
“We’ve asked for $1.6 billion this year,” he answered, adding, “You can’t build all of this thing at one time so we’ve tried to be fiscally responsible and spread the payments out.”
The House has passed legislation to meet the administration’s request and it’s now in the hands of the Senate.
As for what the wall might look like, Mulvaney said it depends on the location.
“It will look like different things in different areas,” he said. “We’re going through a process right now – sort of a competition. I think it’s either four or eight different sort of examples of the wall to see what would be the most effective.”
Mulvaney attended a recent bipartisan dinner at the White House with Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, and sat next to the House minority leader.
“Fascinating, fascinating times. I could tell stories about that to my grandchildren,” he said.
So how concerned should conservatives be about this bipartisan “wheelin’ and dealin?”
“Not concerned at all,” said Mulvaney. “Look, [Trump] ran as a Republican. There’s no question. And he won as a Republican. No question. But he’s also interested in getting things done, and that’s how he’s looking at Washington now.”
You can watch Mulvaney’s full interview by clicking on the video at the top of this page.