PHILADELPHIA — House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tax Policy Chairman Peter Roskam hopes the Trump White House will warm to the idea of a border adjustment tax despite past criticisms.
Tax reform has been a hot topic at the GOP policy retreat in Philadelphia. Border adjustability, which would tax imports while exempting exports, is a critical component in keeping the GOP tax reform blueprint revenue neutral. President Donald Trump has blasted the provision, saying he prefers a big border tax approach, which would give the option of placing tariffs on specific products or companies.
Proponents of the House Republicans’ “A Better Way” blueprint argue the territorial approach is necessary to keep the U.S. competitive, while incentivizing companies to produce their products domestically.
“The border adjustability element fits within this larger theme that he was talking about during the campaign and I think that when it all comes down to it, Donald Trump looks at this and says, ‘I will support this, so it presupposes he supports this,'” Roskam told reporters Thursday. “I think there will be a point at which the Trump White House says, ‘This is a good idea, let’s go.'”
The Illinois Republican said border adjustment, which the Tax Foundation estimates would generate $1.1 trillion in revenue over the course of a decade, is one of the few options “that don’t get you into a trade war, for example.”
“When it comes down to it, the more people look at border adjustments and what we’re proposing, the more they say, ‘Oh this comprehensively makes sense, I understand this, this gets us the growth that we need,’ and I’m willing to do this hard work and take whatever criticism that comes now that I see that this is really the better pathway,” he continued.
Republicans are hoping to accomplish overhauling the tax code before August recess. They hope for bipartisan support, but will likely passed it using reconciliation.
“You’d much rather go regular order, but that predisposes that you have eight Democrats in the Senate that say let’s do this, and if that’s their disposition and their willing to enter into a negotiation and it’s on a growth agenda that is a better course for all the obvious reasons,” he said. “But if they choose not to and it’s hunger strikes and candlelight vigils and all of that, then we’ll move forward with reconciliation.”
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