GOP lawmakers push back against Club for Growth ads on border tax

GOP lawmakers push back against Club for Growth ads on border tax
© Greg Nash

GOP lawmakers are pushing back against ads from the conservative Club for Growth that target them over a border-adjustment tax proposal from House Republicans.

Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement that he is "disappointed" that the Club for Growth is running ads against the House GOP tax blueprint. 

"Border adjustment is only one part of the tax reform plan that also slashes individual and corporate tax rates to make our country more competitive," Rice said. "Our global competitors apply border taxes to products built by American workers, and President Trump has repeatedly recognized the need for America to do something similar in order to level the playing field."

Rice added that his goal for tax reform is to boost economic competitiveness without increasing taxes.

"I am for growth: growth of our economy, growth of jobs, and growth of hope and opportunity for your children and grandchildren," he said. "I'm not sure what the Club for Growth is trying to grow outside of their own checkbook."

The Club for Growth on Tuesday launched ads urging Rice and GOP Reps. Diane BlackDiane BlackHouse to take up spending bills, then budget Jockeying begins in race for House Budget gavel Overnight Finance: Trump signs Russia sanctions bill, rips Congress | Trump plan would cut legal immigration | Senate confirms labor board pick | House Budget chair running for governor | Regulator takes step to change 'Volcker Rule' MORE (Tenn.), Martha RobyMartha RobyBrooks’s prior attacks on Trump could hurt in Alabama Senate race How the GOP came to dominate, and be dominated by, rural voters House GOP not sold on Ryan’s tax reform plan MORE (Ala.) and John Culberson (Texas) to oppose the border-adjustment tax — a key element in House Republicans' tax plan that would tax imports and exempt exports. The ads argue that the proposal would increase prices on goods such as food and clothing.

A spokesman for Roby, Todd Stacy, said groups like the Club for Growth shouldn't be spending their time criticizing Republicans.

“With special elections going on and Democrats more energized than ever, it’s sad that special interest groups like this are wasting time and money attacking conservatives and undermining President Trump," Stacy said in a statement. "Rep. Roby supports the President and believes Republicans in Congress need to be unified with the Trump administration in working to keep their promises to the American people."

Stacy also said that Roby has expressed concerns about how a border tax would affect businesses but there currently "isn’t a border adjustment bill to be ‘for’ or ‘against.’" 

A spokesperson for Black, a Ways and Means Committee member and chairwoman of the House Budget Committee, said that the congresswoman is looking forward to upcoming hearings on tax reform.

"She goes in to these hearings to listen to the pros and cons on all aspects with the ultimate goal of creating a simpler, fairer tax code for all," the spokesperson said.

A representative for Culberson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

updated at 1:35 p.m.