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: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues On The Money: Senate Dems pump brakes on new stimulus checks | Trump officials sued over tax refunds | Fed to soon open small-business lending program Schumer slams Trump's Rose Garden briefing on China as 'pathetic' MORE on Wednesday defended his department's regulations implementing provisions of President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' 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 WydenOn The Money: Senate Dems pump brakes on new stimulus checks | Trump officials sued over tax refunds | Fed to soon open small-business lending program Senate Democrats pump brakes on new stimulus checks Voting rights, public health officials roll out guidelines to protect voters from COVID-19 MORE (Ore.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownHillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues Democratic senators urge regulators to investigate Instacart over 'tip baiting' Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers 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 GrassleyGrassley, Leahy urge Roberts to permanently air Supreme Court arguments Democrats broaden probe into firing of State Department watchdog Former Romney strategist joins anti-Trump Lincoln Project 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 PortmanSoured on Fox, Trump may be seeking new propaganda outlet On The Money: McConnell: Talking about fifth coronavirus bill 'in next month or so' | Boosted unemployment benefits on the chopping block | Women suffering steeper job losses from COVID-19 Kudlow: 0-per-week boost to unemployment benefits won't 'survive the next round of talks' 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.