GOP rep: Border-adjustment tax could 'sink' tax reform

GOP rep: Border-adjustment tax could 'sink' tax reform

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) on Thursday expressed opposition to Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE's (R-Wis.) border-adjustment tax proposal, arguing that it could jeopardize the fate of a tax code overhaul.

"I think on policy it’s bad, but even more importantly, I think it will sink tax reform if it’s in there," DeSantis, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said on Fox Business. "You will not get the votes, and we have to deliver on healthcare; we have to deliver on taxes."

The border-adjustment proposal, which would tax imports and exempt exports, was a part of the tax reform plan Ryan released last year. But House Republicans are divided over the proposal, and senators and Trump administration officials have also expressed concerns. DeSantis is just the latest Republican in the House to offer misgivings about it. 

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House GOP leaders on tax reform argue that the border-tax proposal would raise revenue to pay for lowering tax rates and would encourage domestic manufacturing. However, other GOP lawmakers are worried that it would end up increasing the costs of goods for consumers.

DeSantis said that he does not think lawmakers need to focus on whether tax reform is revenue neutral, and he suggested that tax cuts could be paired with spending cuts. 

"There's nothing preventing us from pairing tax reductions with spending restraint," he said. "No one in Washington really wants to talk about that, including some Republicans."

DeSantis added lawmakers shouldn't concentrate on appealing to scorekeepers such as the Congressional Budget Office.

"Don't get hung up in trying to please the scorekeepers. Do what's best for the economy and for economic growth," he said.