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White House top economic advisor Cohn: We worked on tax reform this 'morning' and it can happen this year

  • Gary Cohn, who is also director of the National Economic Council, said Tuesday that tax reform could happen "between now and Thanksgiving."
  • Cohn said the White House "spent literally the morning upstairs working on our tax reform plan."
  • He was speaking with reporters following President Donald Trump's press conference, in which the president defended his initial response to the weekend's deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Amid the political chaos of the last few days, the White House's chief economic advisor, Gary Cohn, said Tuesday that tax reform can happen this year.

"We just spent literally the morning upstairs working on our tax reform plan, tax reform rollout. We are going to hit the ground running literally this month on tax reform," Cohn told reporters following President Donald Trump's press conference.

"We hope we can get taxes down between now and Thanksgiving," Cohn said.

The economic advisor said "no one's sure" where health care will end up.

But "we've got a great, I would say, skeleton" for tax reform, Cohn said. "We need the [House of Representatives] Ways and Means Committee to put some muscle and skin on the skeleton and drive tax reform forward, and it's our objective to do that between now and the end of the year."

Highly anticipated plans for infrastructure spending could also come soon.

Cohn said once taxes move from the House of Representatives to the Senate, "we'll put infrastructure into the House."

In Tuesday's news conference, Trump defended his response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. He reverted to his original argument blaming all sides, a position that drew bipartisan criticism.

The controversy follows Trump's strong words against North Korea last week that raised concerns about a nuclear threat. The ongoing investigation into connections between the Trump administration and Russia around the 2016 election has also worried some that the White House may be too distracted to get tax reform and other stimulative measures in place.

U.S. stocks surged to record highs following Trump's election win, boosted by expectations on increased economic growth from promised tax reform, infrastructure and deregulation. S&P 500 futures were about a point higher late Tuesday.