Jan 26, 2017

Rebranding the GOP's $1T border tax

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

At the closed door tax reform meeting with Republican House and Senate members, Ways and Means chair Kevin Brady made a forceful pitch for the border adjustment tax, which boosts taxes on imports and reduces them on exports.

The tax could raise $1 trillion and help pay for Trump's expensive promises, and Republican leadership believes tax reform depends on it. Some members don't like it, and made that clear through their questioning at the GOP retreat in Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon. But, according to one member, a number of advocates are getting wise to the fact that the tax needs to be rebranded.

"Trump is all about the branding," a senior House member told Axios. This member now calls it a border adjustment "fee." Others, he says, are calling it a "mechanism." Brady himself, as a senior House aide notes, declines to call it border adjustment, rather saying this provision will end the "Made in America" tax.

Why this matters: Trump doesn't like the sound of a border adjustment tax. He told the Wall Street Journal it sounded too complicated, and though he walked that back when he spoke to Axios, he's still not comfortable selling the idea. Steve Bannon likes the concept, he believes it's an American nationalist tax. But it might take a rebranding project to get it through.

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