Tester Grills Treasury Secretary Mnuchin About White House’s $5.5 Trillion Tax Plan

Senator Demands a Plan that Won’t Increase the Debt

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today bluntly reminded Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin about the Secretary’s obligation to cut the national debt and ensure that any tax reform plan doesn’t saddle the next generation with trillions of dollars of debt.

Tester, in a Senate Banking Committee hearing, asked Mnuchin if he could promise that the President’s tax plan would be fiscally responsible.

Non-partisan experts have said that this plan could cost $5.5 trillion,” said Tester. “I don’t think any of us here think that’s a good idea, saddling the kids with additional debt. Even Senator McConnell recently said tax reform cannot add to the debt. Could you commit to us that this plan, this tax relief plan, will not add to the debt?”

“Any plan that we put forward we believe should be paid for with economic growth,” Mnuchin replied.

Tester then pointed out that the President’s proposed budget will hamper economic growth in rural states like Montana, making it even harder to pay for the trillion-dollar plan.

“The budget that the President put out does not bode well for rural America, so if we are talking about economic growth in rural America to pay for a tax plan based on the budget that the President laid out, we’ve got some huge problems,” said Tester. “It ain’t going to happen with that budget, I’ll just be quite honest with you.”

Tester also asked the Secretary if he supports a nationwide sales tax, also known as a “value-added tax,” following a report in April that Trump was considering one. Mnuchin said that such a tax is not something the Administration is “inclined” to do.

Tester is a strong opponent of a sales tax, and Montanans overwhelmingly reject efforts to impose statewide sales taxes.