Mnuchin: GOP tax law's 'whole purpose' was giving companies more money to compete

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Cohen reportedly questioned over Trump dealings with Russia | Trump hails economy | Tells workers to 'start looking' if they want a better job | Internal poll shows tax law backfiring on GOP Trump announces tariffs on 0B in Chinese goods Trump: China tariff announcement to come Monday afternoon MORE said Thursday that the “whole purpose” of the GOP tax bill was to “put more money” in the U.S. business sector to allow companies to be more competitive internationally.

“The whole purpose of the tax cut act was to put more money in companies so they could compete competitively with international companies,” Mnuchin told reporters at a White House press briefing. “I think you know we had one of the highest tax rates in the world. We taxed on worldwide income [and] we changed that.”

“This is really a revolutionary process,” he continued. “We thought it would be great for the economy, and we’re thrilled with already the number of companies that we see reacting accordingly.”

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Mnuchin was responding to a question about Walmart following its announcement that it would raise the starting minimum wage for new employees to $11 an hour and expand parental leave.

The Treasury Department chief praised the move, saying the administration “appreciates what Walmart is doing.”

“The administration’s economic policies are a function of what we see: growth and investment. Different companies will do different things — some companies will invest capital, some companies will return money to workers,” Mnuchin said. “Lots of things are going on in the economy, and we appreciate what Walmart is doing."

Mnuchin was also asked if Walmart’s announcement would lead to movement from the federal government on increasing the federal minimum wage.

“I think the most important issue is for companies to increase their wages,” Mnuchin said. “Walmart’s number is already above the minimum wage. It’s obviously an issue for the federal government and an issue for states, but I’d say the real focus, which is what the tax cuts act has been all about, is putting more money in companies.”

“We’ve said all along we believe 70 percent of this will be returned to workers," he said.

Walmart also announced Thursday that it would lay off thousands of workers across the country and close dozens of Sam’s Club locations.

Several major corporations have announced new higher wages and bonuses for employees as a result of the tax bill that slashed corporate tax rates.

Comcast, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines have each announced bonuses for employees since the bill's passage in December.