Supporters, opponents of border tax to testify at House hearing

Supporters, opponents of border tax to testify at House hearing
© Getty Images

The House Ways and Means Committee's hearing Tuesday on the border adjustment tax will include witnesses who both support and oppose the proposal.

The witness list, which was confirmed to The Hill by a Democratic aide after it was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, reflects the fact that businesses, economists and lawmakers are divided over the import tax proposal that was in the tax-reform blueprint House Republicans released last year.

The border-adjustment proposal involves taxing imports and exempting exports. Supporters argue that it would remove incentives for companies to move their jobs and headquarters overseas. But opponents are concerned that it would result in consumers paying more for goods such as food and clothing.

One supporter of border adjustability that is expected to testify at Tuesday's hearing is Juan Luciano. He is president of Archer Daniels Midland — an agricultural processor that is a member of a pro-border tax group known as the American Made Coalition. 
 
Another supporter who will be a witness is former Walmart CEO Bill Simon, who backed the idea during a February Fox Business interview. Lawrence Lindsey, a former economic adviser to President George W. Bush who was positive about the border adjustment proposal in a Weekly Standard op-ed, is also slated to testify. 

On the anti-border adjustment side of the witness list is Target CEO Brian Cornell. Target is part of an anti-border tax coalition called Americans for Affordable Products, and Cornell is one of several retail executives that met with President Trump earlier this year to discuss priorities including tax reform. 

The Democratic witness list includes Reed College economics professor Kim Clausing, who co-wrote a paper late last year that argued that the House GOP blueprint wouldn't comply with World Trade Organization obligations and wouldn't eliminate the problem of businesses shifting their income to other countries.

Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee are expected to officially announce the witness list for Tuesday's hearing on Monday. The hearing is one of several tax-reform hearings the committee will hold in the coming weeks.