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AP

The House Republicans' border adjustment tax (BAT) is, finally, as good as dead. The Republican leaders in charge of tax reform have, for the first time, admitted in a joint statement that a centerpiece of the House GOP tax plan — the idea to raise some $1 trillion over 10 years by hiking taxes of imports and cutting them on exports — is politically unfeasible.

Here's the key sentence, from a statement released today by the "Big Six" lawmakers leading the tax reform process: "While we have debated the pro-growth benefits of border adjustability, we appreciate that there are many unknowns associated with it and have decided to set this policy aside in order to advance tax reform."

Why this matters: Conservative lawmakers and outside groups like the Koch network needed to hear that BAT was dead before they agree to put their full political and financial weight behind tax reform over the summer.

But, as for the rest of the joint statement, it's a total letdown and reveals the scope of disagreements still remaining between House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady.

The tax "statement" is a series of platitudes, extremely light on specifics. It commits to lower taxes, but, unlike the plan Trump released in April, it doesn't offer specific tax rates. The statement is also silent on how to pay for the tax cuts, though it does suggest that the group wants the tax reform not to add to the deficit, by saying it places a "priority on permanence." (Many conservatives argue the President should just cut taxes without worrying about blowing out the budget deficit in the short term.)

The most substantive paragraph: "The goal is a plan that reduces tax rates as much as possible, allows unprecedented capital expensing, places a priority on permanence, and creates a system that encourages American companies to bring back jobs and profits trapped overseas. And we are now confident that, without transitioning to a new domestic consumption-based tax system, there is a viable approach for ensuring a level playing field between American and foreign companies and workers, while protecting American jobs and the U.S. tax base."

A source close to leadership texts his reaction to the joint statement (summing up the sentiment I've heard from several prominent tax lobbyists in Washington): "That tax statement is amazing. Other than BAT funeral, it has less substance than the April document...This town spent literally 24 hours get[ting] lathered up over this s---."

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Israeli officials will object to restoration of Iran deal in D.C. visit

Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the delegation traveling to Washington, D.C. next week for strategic talks on Iran to stress their objection to a U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear deal and to refuse to discuss its contents, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: That position is similar to the one Israel took in the year before the 2015 nuclear deal was announced, which led to a rift between the Israeli government and the Obama administration. History could now repeat itself.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases aren't budging — even after vaccinations doubled— Health care workers feel stress, burnout more than a year into the pandemic — Handful of "breakthrough" COVID cases occurred in nursing homes, CDC says.
  2. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson's vaccine production problems look even bigger — All U.S. adults now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine.
  3. Political: Watchdog says agency infighting increased health and safety risks at start of pandemic.
  4. World: EU regulator: Benefits of J&J vaccine outweigh risk of rare blood clots.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Latino lawmakers want new Marshall Plan

Migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador arrive in the U.S. after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into Roma, Texas. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Hispanic U.S. House members are pushing for an aggressive, multiyear "Marshall Plan" for Central America to tackle regional violence, corruption and economic devastation.

The big picture: The call for a Central American plan, similar to a U.S. program that rebuilt Western Europe following World War II, comes as both political parties and the Biden administration struggle to find short-term solutions to the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The price tag: TBD.