Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law

Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law
© Greg Nash

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHillicon Valley: Agencies play catch-up over TikTok security concerns | Senate Dems seek sanctions on Russia over new election meddling | Pentagon unveils AI principles Senate Democrats urge Trump administration to impose sanctions on Russia for election interference Overnight Energy: Fight over pipeline that would cross Appalachian Trail hits Supreme Court | Security experts warn of 'catastrophic' climate threats | G-20 statement talks climate despite US reluctance MORE on Wednesday defended his department's regulations implementing provisions of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE's tax cut law, which Democrats argue have been overly beneficial for corporations.

“Our job is to implement the legislation, not to make the legislation,” Mnuchin said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing.

Democrats and Republicans have long been fighting over Trump's 2017 law, which received no Democratic votes. In recent weeks, a key issue in the messaging battle over the law has been over regulations implementing the measure's international provisions, following a New York Times article about corporate lobbying on the rules.

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Democrats argue that Treasury guidance has been too generous for corporations following businesses' lobbying efforts, and may have exceeded the Treasury Department's legal authority.

Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenRussian interference reports rock Capitol Hill McSally unveils bill to lower drug prices amid tough campaign Graham: Trump has 'all the legal authority in the world' to pardon Stone MORE (Ore.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownHillicon Valley: Agencies play catch-up over TikTok security concerns | Senate Dems seek sanctions on Russia over new election meddling | Pentagon unveils AI principles Senate Democrats urge Trump administration to impose sanctions on Russia for election interference Trump pick for Fed seat takes bipartisan fire MORE (Ohio) — the top Democrats on the Senate Finance and Banking committees, respectively — introduced legislation on Wednesday to block a regulatory proposal relating to one of the tax law's international provisions. Wyden described the proposal in a news release as a "proposed giveaway that essentially allows corporations to choose the lowest available tax rate."

But Mnuchin said that Treasury's decisions about tax law regulations have been based on legislative intent rather than corporate lobbyists.

"On a regular basis, we meet with lots of people to take in input. We've reached out to the committee and its staff," he said.

GOP senators also defended the Treasury's regulations on the tax law.

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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyMcSally unveils bill to lower drug prices amid tough campaign Ernst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case MORE (R-Iowa) said that it's part of the regulatory process under the Administrative Procedure Act for the agency to seek comment from stakeholders.

"I don't see how you can do your job of implementing new law that is so far-reaching without listening to stakeholders," he said.

Grassley added that "the business community certainly doesn't seem to think that they've received everything for which they've asked."

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way GOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law MORE (R-Ohio) said that if anything, Treasury's approach has been "very conservative" with respect to the rule Brown and Wyden are targeting in their bill.

“Our job has been to implement that part of the tax code consistent with the intent and as prescribed by the law and that’s what we’ve done," Mnuchin said in response to a question from Portman.

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce official said in a statement Wednesday that the group opposes Wyden and Brown's bill because it seeks to remove Treasury's authority to implement a regulation that ensures that the tax law works as Congress intended.

Wyden said Democrats' feedback wasn't sought on the tax "loopholes" they find problematic.

"I would have been fighting them every step of the way," he said.