Trump economic adviser: 'I don't know' if tax reform gets done by August

Trump economic adviser: 'I don't know' if tax reform gets done by August
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Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council, said Friday that he's not sure if tax reform legislation will pass by August, backing away from an ambitious timeline set by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

"I don’t know if it’s August or not," Cohn told Bloomberg TV. “Getting it done well and getting it done right is more important than getting it done soon.”

Comprehensive tax reform is top priority for the White House and GOP lawmakers, ranking only behind repealing and replacing ObamaCare. Despite Republicans' high-profile failure to pass healthcare reform this year, the White House and GOP leadership have expressed confidence that tax reform can eventually pass.

Congress last passed a massive tax overhaul in 1987, with attempts to do so often igniting several fierce policy and lobbying battles that derail the process. Despite this, Mnuchin has said that tax reform would be signed by August or early September at the latest.

"This is optimistic, this is a big challenge, but we're going to try to get it done on that period of time, and if we don't we'll get it done right afterwards," Mnuchin said on March 24. He added that he "absolutely" thinks tax reform will be done by the fall.

Veteran lawmakers and observers have long doubted tax reform could be completed be then. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMcCain returns to applause, casts deciding vote to advance healthcare bill Senate votes to begin ObamaCare repeal debate Congress, raise the minimum wage rather than take away healthcare MORE (R-Ky.) said it was unlikely Congress would be done by then.