Heller, Treasury secretary talk tax reform, Congress' very busy September
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) —
Hey Congress – the clock is ticking.
You get back Sept. 5, and your plate is getting crowded:
The government hits its debt limit Sept. 29. Right now, it's $19.8 trillion, which is a lot of zeroes.
Not raising it could trigger America’s first ever default.
If you're the guy in charge of America's money, that's a problem.
“We can have very tight controls over how we spend our money, but the debt limit is about paying our bills and Congress will get that raised this month,” says Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in Las Vegas on Monday to join Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, for a closed-press roundtable on tax reform with local business leaders.
Tax reform is another thing on the to-do list this fall for congress. Mnuchin says the White House wants to make things simple.
“We hope that 95 percent of the people can fill out their taxes on a large postcard,” says Mnuchin.
Over the summer, Congress could not get an Obamacare repeal-and-replacement over the finish line. Why would tax reform, arguably harder, be any easier, I asked Heller.
“So you’re asking me why do I feel better about this? We’re actually on the same page. We don’t have an idea from the White House, an idea from the House, an idea from the Senate. We’re coming into this together,” Heller says.
Here's another thing about to welcome Congress: The current funding for the government runs out Sept. 30.
Last week at his rally in Phoenix, President Donald Trump threatened a government shutdown if one of his key campaign priorities is not funded.
“Build that wall,” Trump told a crowd of his supporters. “Now obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it but believe me, if we have to close down our government, we're building that wall.”
Estimates put a price tag of a wall around $21 billion. Will congress give the president something?
“I think he's going to get the funding that he wants,” says Senator Heller, who tells me he’s visited the U.S.-Mexico border and talked to U.S. border agents. “They need personnel, capital resources – better make sure they get it.
On an unrelated issue, Heller says he recently spoke with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke about the disposition of Nevada’s two national monuments – Gold Butte and Basin and Range.
The Obama administration set aside hundreds of thousands of Nevada acres in those two areas to preserve the land, its history and its vistas.
The Trump administration initiated a review of those two and others around the nation, in response to localities which claimed the previous White House did not listen to local concerns.
“There will be some adjustments for both of those monuments, but they will be minor,” Heller says.
The Interior Department has yet to release its final determination for Gold Butte and Basin and Range.