Senate Majority Leader, Treasury Secretary tell Louisville busin - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Senate Majority Leader, Treasury Secretary tell Louisville business leaders tax reform and debt ceiling are top economic priorities

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Two of Washington D.C.'s most powerful leaders appeared together in Louisville on Monday, but they did not let President Donald Trump's recent troubles eclipse their message.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin talked tax reform and health care at Greater Louisville, Inc.’s Capitol Connections luncheon.

McConnell appeared with a member of Trump's cabinet just days after the president himself blasted McConnell on Twitter for the Senate's failure to repeal Obamacare.

But Trump and McConnell need each other if they want success on what Mnuchin calls a top priority: tax reform.

“It is the president's highest focus because it is critical for economic growth,” Mnuchin told the crowd of business leaders.

In fact, Mnuchin said he has been meeting with McConnell and other congressional leaders for months to craft a plan.

“What we intend to try to accomplish is comprehensive tax reform that brings the rates down, to make American competitive,” McConnell said.

But before tax reform can happen, Congress must deal with a more looming issue: raising the debt ceiling.

“This is about paying for what we've spent," Mnuchin said. "And we cannot put the credit of the United States on the line."

During a Q&A session with the audience, McConnell made clear he will put down any attempt to force a government shutdown over spending.

“There is zero chance. No chance," he said. "We won't raise the debt ceiling. No chance."

As for health care reform, McConnell said it's not dead but is on life support. Senators are working on a bipartisan plan.

“Obviously, we had a setback on the effort to make dramatic changes on Obamacare," McConnell said. "The way forward now is somewhat murky."

On foreign policy, there was no mention on the president's plan for Afghanistan, but Mnuchin promised to keep tightening the economic screws on the world's troublemakers, specifically naming North Korea, Iran and Venezuela.

“The president is very focused on directing me to use all the powers of the Department of the Treasury to make sure we put sanctions and stop illicit activities,” he said.

McConnell and Mnuchin left without talking to reporters.

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