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SC Rep. Tom Rice pushes back on attack ads

U.S. Rep. Tom Rice leads a town hall style meeting at Boulineau's in Cherry Grove Beach on Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. Outlining his accomplishments in Congress, Rice also fielded questions from the nearly 70 people at the meeting.
U.S. Rep. Tom Rice leads a town hall style meeting at Boulineau's in Cherry Grove Beach on Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. Outlining his accomplishments in Congress, Rice also fielded questions from the nearly 70 people at the meeting. jblackmon@thesunnews.com

South Carolina Republican Republican Rep. Tom Rice took on a conservative advocacy group Tuesday after it released attack ads against him and the House of Representatives’ border adjustment proposal.

The Club for Growth’s ad, titled “Not on Our Side,” urged viewers to tell Rice to oppose the border adjustment tax plan, claiming that it would cost the average South Carolina family more than $1,700 a year. The proposal, which has divided House Republicans, would levy the taxes on imported goods by 20 percent.

The group in a press release Tuesday said the $500,000 ad buy will run on TV and digital platforms starting Tuesday.

Rice was not the only Republican targeted in the ad campaign. The group also released ads against Tennessee Rep. Diane Black, Alabama Rep. Martha Roby and Texas Rep. John Culberson.

The president of the Club for Growth, David McIntosh, said the proposed budget is a step backwards.

“All of the good progress Congress is poised to make on tax reform could be sunk if Republicans persist in creating a new trillion-dollar consumer tax,” McIntosh said. “The border adjustment tax (BAT) would drive up prices on everyday items for typical South Carolina families. Rep. Tom Rice’s constituents should urge him to oppose the BAT, which would slam hard-working families with a massive new tax.”

Rice pushed back on the ads in a statement Tuesday, saying that the U.S. needs to even the odds against foreign competitors who use border taxes on products built by Americans.

“I am disappointed that the Club For Growth has taken to the airwaves, spending millions of dollars to attack the tax reform blueprint offered by House Republicans,” said Rice, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. “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.”

He added that his goal was to tackle tax code changes by making the American economy competitive without increasing taxes, and that the proposed budget has the approval of numerous economists.

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

South Carolina was named one of the top 10 states that would be negatively impacted by the tax plan, according to a study conducted by Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners. Both conservative groups are funded by the wealthy Koch brothers.

The study said South Carolina and the other states were particularly at risk because of their high dependence on manufacturing and imported goods.

Donovan Harrell: 202-383-6044, @dono_harrell

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