White House backs off firm deadline for tax reform

White House: Hope people to have tax cut this time next year

The White House is giving itself wiggle room on a tax-reform timeline.

Top Trump administration officials like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have previously set a goal of passing an overhaul of the American tax system by Congress' August recess.

On Monday, press secretary Sean Spicer said he would like to see tax reform passed by August but did not firmly commit to it.

"It still would be a great opportunity before they leave for August recess, but we're going to make sure we do this right," Spicer told reporters at his daily briefing.

Spicer's comments came after the Associated Press reported that Trump has "scrapped" the tax plan he backed on the campaign trail and has gone back to the early stages of finding a new plan that could get enough broad support to pass. Navigating what, if passed, would be the first successful tax reform since 1986 could prove difficult as disagreements among lawmakers and business stakeholders have already started to surface.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell notably has said tax reform will likely take longer than August.

Spicer denied Monday that action on tax legislation was getting "pushed" but said that talking to lawmakers and stakeholders about how tax reform will take shape is "the beginning part of that process." The White House press secretary added that he hopes middle-income Americans have a tax cut by the time they file their tax returns next spring.

In February, Trump said his tax plan was "very well finalized." Spicer also suggested in February that the White House would release a tax plan in the following weeks, though it has not done so yet.

On the campaign trail, Trump promised across-the-board tax cuts for individuals and businesses. House Republicans have their own tax plan which overlaps with Trump's in some ways but features a controversial revenue-raising provision known as border adjustment.

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