The 'border adjustment tax' idea just gained a very powerful supporter

Norquist: Tax proposal should be done in next six months
Norquist: Tax proposal should be done in next six months

Grover Norquist, famous for persuading members of Congress to pledge that they won't raise taxes, says he's OK with the so-called border adjustment tax being proposed by the House GOP.

Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform and creator of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, made the announcement Tuesday morning on CNBC, though he added that he supports the tax only because it falls within a much larger package of tax reform.

"If it was stand-alone, it would be no," but as part of a "several trillion-dollar tax reduction package, the whole package is pro-growth," he said.

The interview came as Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, gave a full-throated endorsement to a border adjustment tax in Washington.

A border adjustment tax is different from a punitive import tariff that President Donald Trump has signaled he favors in his tweets, and from Trump's recent pronouncements about a "border tax." Trump wants to punish specific companies and specific countries through what he calls a border tax.

Border adjustment is designed to help U.S. exports by not taxing them, and to discourage imports by imposing a levy on them at a fixed rate. The package being pushed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Brady, R-Texas, would mark a major change in the way the U.S. taxes all corporations, both foreign and domestic, that operate in the United States.

Norquist agreed with critics who say the border adjustment tax will lead to "winners and losers," but ultimately he said that "the whole package is great."

'Very simple, but ... also very powerful'

"Could it be improved? Absolutely. There are lots of areas that you could actually make this tax cut even better. But right now, as a package, it will either pas or be improved on, and it should be done in the next six months."

Speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, Brady said: "For the first time in our nation's history, we will finally end the 'Made in America' tax on U.S. exports — a completely backwards feature of our current tax code that makes it harder for U.S. businesses to compete globally and create jobs here at home."

"This policy — sometimes referred to as 'border adjustability '— is very simple, but it's also very powerful," Brady continued. "It will be a game changer for our businesses and our economy as a whole."

Trump has been less enthusiastic for border adjustabililty, earlier this month calling the idea "too complicated."

U.S. industries that are dependent on imports, especially big-box retailers and oil refiners, also oppose the border-adjustment tax.

O’Leary: Trump's border tax is 'scary stuff'
O’Leary: Trump's border tax is 'scary stuff'