Earnest: Not Going To "Rule Anything In Or Out" For Executive Action on U.S. Tax Code


MAJOR GARRETT, CBS NEWS: Just to be clear, Josh, the White House believes the president would have executive authority to change U.S. tax law related to inversions?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: I'm not in a position to speculate as to what sort of executive actions the president would take in this area.

GARRETT: You have nothing that you can rule out?

EARNEST: I'm not in a position to rule anything in or anything out at this point.

GARRETT: There is a rather elaborate precedent in this country of not just Congress but the House initiating all changes in the tax law just as it does with appropriations, and by you suggesting that it is possible if Congress doesn't act the president might do something with executive authority. I'm just trying to clarify if the White House believes it has and the president retains executive power to change U.S. tax law as it relates to inversion.

EARNEST: I'm not in a position to render any judgment about the legality of any option -- and again, I'm not in a position to rule anything in or out at this point. So, what we're focused on right now is calling on Congress to take action on common-sense legislation that would close a loophole that many companies have benefited from to avoid paying the taxes to the U.S. government that they owe...

GARRETT: Let me ask because yesterday we had a conversation about the president's preference that Congress do this with immigration and then the deadline was reached and he said, 'You know, you're not acting, so I'll do it on my own.' And there's a process to which the president is going to be given information as to what he can and can not do. Has that process begun with inversion?

EARNEST: Not that I am aware of. (White House Press Briefing, August 5, 2014)

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