December 18, 2018 / 10:46 PM / a year ago

Middle-class tax cut not focus of Trump administration efforts: Bloomberg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A proposed middle-class tax cut that U.S. President Donald Trump floated just ahead of the November elections is not a focus of his administration’s efforts on taxes, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Bloomberg News in an interview on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks during a TV interview at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

About two weeks before the congressional elections, Trump said he was planning to push for a 10 percent tax cut for middle-income Americans, on top of the reductions he signed into law in December 2017.

Trump initially said the tax cut proposal would be rolled out just before voters went to the polls, even though lawmakers were out of Washington campaigning. He later said a vote would be held after the elections.

In the Bloomberg interview, Mnuchin said the administration would instead focus its efforts on fixing issues with the 2017 tax overhaul.

That legislation slashed the corporate rate to 21 percent from 35 percent and temporarily reduced taxes for individuals. Democrats have criticized the bill for squeezing government revenues to provide tax cuts for corporations.

Mnuchin said he was hoping to work with Congress on “some minor technical corrections,” but downplayed the prospects of a middle-class tax cut, Bloomberg reported.

“I’m not going to comment on whether it is a real thing or not a real thing,” Mnuchin told Bloomberg, referring to the middle-income plan. “I’m saying for the moment we have other things we’re focused on.”

Kevin Brady, the Republican chairman of the tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives, said in late October that any action on the middle-class tax plan would have to wait for 2019 and would only be pushed if Republicans retained their majority in the elections.

As it turned out, Republicans lost their majority in the House by a substantial amount, even as they padded it in the Senate.

Spokespeople for the Treasury Department, White House and Brady did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the Bloomberg report.

Reporting by Makini Brice; additional reporting by Steve Holland and Amanda Becker; editing by Tim Ahmann and Leslie Adler

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