WASHINGTON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday he expects to unveil a proposal for overhauling the federal tax code this fall and to get legislation passed by the end of the year that includes a lower corporate tax rate.
"We want America to wake up on New Year's Day 2018 with a new tax system," Ryan said in an interview with The New York Times. He said congressional tax writers were close to releasing their template for the tax system overhaul.
Tax reform was a major campaign promise last year for President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress. But the effort has been hamstrung by repeated delays and political distractions since Trump took office in January.
The president went on the road at the end of August to tout tax cuts as a way to help American workers and the middle class but Washington's attention soon shifted to hurricanes battering the southern United States and North Korea's latest nuclear test.
Trump's treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, said in a separate interview on Thursday with Fox Business Network that tax reform remains a top priority for the president.
Ryan said Trump was very engaged on tax reform and "seriously involved in the details."
The president has said he wanted to lower the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. Ryan, in the Times interview, indicated a figure that low was unrealistic.
"The numbers are hard to make that work. He obviously wants to push this as low as possible - I completely support doing that but at the end of the day we've got to make these numbers work.
"Our goal is to be at or below the industrialized world average - and that's 22.5 (percent). So our goal is to get in the mid to low 20s. And we think that's an achievable goal."
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu, David Morgan, Susan Heavey; Editing by Frances Kerry)