The controversial border adjustment tax won’t be axed from the Republicans’ tax reform package, which will happen this year, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady predicted Friday.
That’s because all of the reform elements taken together are what makes the package “so pro-growth,” the Texas Republican told CNBC.
President Donald Trump has promised to slash corporate and personal tax rates, but hasn’t specifically committed to a border adjustment tax yet.
Brady, who is the chief writer of the tax reform package, said conversations with Trump and his administration have been “encouraging.”
While levies similar to a border tax are common around the world, it is new to the United States, he pointed out.
“We’re having good, healthy discussions about this and frankly these steps, these discussions we’re having right now ultimately is going to be one of the reasons we are going to do this tax reform this year,” Brady said in an interview with “Power Lunch.”
While Trump called the tax “too complicated” in a January interview with The Wall Street Journal, he later told Axios the idea is “certainly something that is going to be discussed.”
Then, last week Peter Navarro, head of the new National Trade Council, told CNBC, “there is no question that we need a border adjustable tax of some kind, one that has to be flexible.”
Yet, earlier Friday, Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council, was noncommittal about the idea.
“It is one of the options that’s on the table. You should not take it from me that that’s the option we’re going with but I’m not going to exclude that option,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”
The issue is viewed favorably by some business, but others — like retailers — are opposed to such a tax.
Brady said he welcomes the conversation.
He also acknowledged there have been discussions with oil refiners that import crude.
“They want to avoid any tax spike or price spike. So we’re engaged with them because I’m convinced that one, we can design this provision and transition it in a way to allay many of those concerns,” he said.
“We also know the economy adjusts — strength in the U.S. economy, strength in our exports, the dollar will appreciate. That’s going to address the balance on the imports.”
— CNBC’s Mack Hogan contributed to this report.