'Ambitious' and 'aggressive' timing for Mnuchin's tax plan may not play out, experts say

'Ambitious' and 'aggressive' timing for Mnuchin's tax plan may not play out, experts say
'Ambitious' and 'aggressive' timing for Mnuchin's tax plan may not play out, experts say

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The Trump administration could face some trouble getting its tax reform through by August, Alex Brill, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said Thursday, after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's exclusive interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

He noted that it could be difficult to get tax reform and health care resolved concurrently.

"There's only so much that Congress can process at the same time. I was very pleased to hear the secretary put an emphasis and a priority on tax reform, an aggressive schedule of a bill signing in August, but we do need to recognize that there's a whole other conversation in Washington about repeal, repeal and replace, or repeal and repair that is potentially in conflict," simply due to time constraints, Brill said on "Squawk Box."

Mnuchin said he's committed to "very significant" tax reform by August.

President Donald Trump has pushed tax reform and deregulation since taking office, though he has not given many details as to what that will look like so far.

Richard Bernstein, CEO of Richard Bernstein Advisors and a CNBC contributor, was likewise struck by the secretary's aggressive timeline.

"He wants to get it done by the August recess, and I think that's very important, because something has to be done, in place, and show results by the midterms in 2018," Bernstein said on "Squawk Box."

Bernstein added that he suspects the reforms will be retroactive in order to show maximum results as quickly as possible and thus benefit members of Congress who will be up for re-election in 2018.

"I'm glad to hear that he [Mnuchin] had an ambitious goal line of August recess. To put that in perspective, that's really 17 weeks from now, and if you put out a plan in mid-March, that really gives you 14 weeks," Curtis Beaulieu, senior counsel at Bracewell, said on "Squawk Box." "And while we could pass something quickly out of the House when it gets to the Senate, that's when things slow down."

Beaulieu noted that there are limits on what they can pass and that the administration may have to curtail its tax reform to just corporate taxes or another, narrower aspect, and simply return to the issue at a later date when Republicans have a potential supermajority in Congress in 2018.

Ian Katz, director at Capital Alpha Partners, said that he thinks Mnuchin "pretty deftly walked this balance beam between being optimistic ... and at the same time, not overpromising."

Katz noted that while the secretary said he wanted to get the reforms done by August, he didn't promise that, giving himself an out if things don't go as well as hoped.

"He was being optimistic while at the same time laying out the possibility that, you know, it's not totally in the administration's hands, and it's not."

CNBC

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