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A 15 percent corporate tax rate is 'realistic,' says White House budget director

  • The Trump administration is still pushing for a 15 percent corporate tax rate, the White House's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, told CNBC on Wednesday.
  • "It is realistic to work for it. There is absolutely no question," he said in an interview that aired on "Power Lunch."

The Trump administration is still pushing for a 15 percent corporate tax rate, the White House's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, told CNBC on Wednesday.

When asked if the rate would ultimately be 15 percent, Mulvaney said, "[I] hope so."

"It is realistic to work for it. There is absolutely no question," he said in an interview that aired on "Power Lunch."

"We want to see a corporate rate that brings companies back to the United States and that brings companies here for the first time. This is an American jobs program by getting this corporate tax rate down to 15 percent," he added.

President Donald Trump, who is holding a bipartisan meeting at the White House on Wednesday, urged Congress earlier in the day to act quickly on his tax reform plan, which has yet to be fully revealed.

In a tweet, Trump said the approval process for "the biggest Tax Cut & Tax Reform package in the history of our country will soon begin. Move fast Congress!"

Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the president has been frustrated by how slowly things are going and is not looking at Washington through a "partisan lens" anymore.

However, he said the 15 percent corporate rate was "central" to Trump's plans.

"Democrats are heavily invested … in making the case that a corporate tax cut is a tax cut for the rich or a tax cut for the top 1 percent, and if they can't talk themselves out of that box it's going to be very difficult to work with them on tax reform."

That said, the White House wants the most "sweeping tax reform that can pass" and will work with Republicans and Democrats to get it done

"We don't want to win the argument and lose the vote. We are sitting here to try and actually make improvements, dramatic improvements, to the tax code and we'll work with anybody who helps us do that," he said.

On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin conceded a 15 percent rate would be difficult to attain.

"I don't know if we'll be able to achieve that given the budget issues. But we're going to get this down to a very competitive level," Mnuchin said at the Delivering Alpha conference presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert and Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.

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