Ryan ‘Confident’: Tax Reform in Calendar Year 2017

By Susan Jones | May 18, 2017 | 12:17 PM EDT

House Speaker Paul Ryan addresses a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

(CNSNews.com) - “Drama is not helpful in getting things done, but we’re still getting things done,” including tax reform, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told a news conference on Thursday.

While Ryan emphasized all the progress Republicans are making on their to-do list, reporters wanted to talk about the most recent developments in the Trump-Russia investigation -- prompting Ryan to finally ask the assembled reporters: “Yeah, you want to ask about tax reform?”

“Our goal, and we feel very confident we’re going to meet this goal, is calendar year 2017 for tax reform,” Ryan said. “And I think we’re making good progress.

Ryan said Republicans are looking for the best way to reform the tax code, lower tax rates for businesses, and make the American tax system internationally competitive.

“Right now, it is literally one of the worst tax systems in the industrialized world,” he said. “We’re losing companies, who are becoming foreign companies; we have an incentive that basically tells these companies, outsource your manufacturing. Why on earth are we doing that?

“So we really believe this is -- again, we’re working on this, fixing people’s problems, and that is why tax reform is so critical.

“And I do believe that there are very serious, legitimate concerns to any version of tax reform, and we’re going to have to accommodate those concerns as we move to a new tax system.”

As Ryan spoke, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was taking questions on tax reform at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee.

"Obviously tax reform is something that we are working on with the House and the Senate, but I can assure you that the president's objective and my objective is that we create a middle-income tax cut," Mnuchin said. "And that we do not raise taxes on the middle income -- if anything, the opposite."

Mnuchin said the details are still being worked out, but-- "One of the things we've done is we've proposed getting rid of almost every single deduction, which is something that is used by the rich, in return for a slight reduction in taxes, and our objective is that 95 percent of Americans won't need to use itemized deductions and will be able to fill out simplified tax returns."