Trump nominates Mnuchin for Treasury secretary as Ways and Means gets to work on tax reform

Tax Hot TopicsPresident-elect Donald Trump recently announced his intention to nominate financier Steven Mnuchin as Treasury secretary. Mnuchin is a veteran of Wall Street and was formerly a partner with Goldman Sachs, Inc. If confirmed, he would have significant influence in shaping tax reform, and would oversee the executive branch’s involvement in any reform effort. In a recent interview, Mnuchin remarked that tax reform must reduce taxes for the middle class, and should not primarily benefit the wealthiest Americans.

Meanwhile House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Sander Levin, D-Mich., announced that he would step down from that role to allow for new, younger leadership. Taking his place as ranking member is Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass. Recently, Neal co-sponsored legislation with his Ways and Means Committee colleague from across the aisle, Charles Boustany Jr., R-La., that would have provided a deduction for C corporations on income derived from domestic-sourced intellectual property. This “IP box” proposal gained steam in the House earlier this year, but was quashed by the White House. While the Republicans’ tax reform “blueprint” does not make a provision for an IP box, it is possible that some kind of provision may be made to encourage the retention of intellectual property in the United States.

In addition to Neal’s ascension to ranking member, Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., also on the Ways and Means Committee, announced that he would be leaving Congress to become the next attorney general of California. Becerra and Neal were both expected to compete to succeed Levin, but Becerra’s resignation cleared a fairly unobstructed path for Neal.

Despite the anticipated adjournment over the weekend, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., has asked the Republican members of the committee to be available this week to review details of his tax reform “blueprint.” Ways and Means staff has been working to turn the blueprint into legislative language, and this step could indicate Brady’s intention to move quickly on tax reform once the new Congress begins in January.

Contacts Mel Schwarz
Partner, Washington National Tax Office
+1 202 521 1564

Dustin Stamper
Director, Washington National Tax Office
+1 202 861 4144

Shamik Trivedi
Manager, Washington National Tax Office
+1 202 521 1511

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