WASHINGTON, DC — Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following remarks today laying out his vision for the committee as it looks to advance Speaker Ryan’s pro-growth agenda throughout the rest of the 114th Congress.
“Let me start by saying it is truly an honor to chair this committee. And it is even more of an honor to be passed the gavel by my friend and colleague — the gentleman from Texas, Sam Johnson. Sam, once again when your country needed you, you stepped in and served as our acting Chairman while former Chairman Ryan got a promotion across the street. Thanks for keeping the trains running on time, and making sure the committee and the country were well served. Job well done, as always.
“Each of us came to Congress to tackle the big issues that face America and to leave this country a better place than when we arrived.
“Being a member of this historic and influential committee gives us an opportunity to do just that. This year alone we have taken an essential first step to reform and create certainty in the way Medicare pays its local doctors. We passed bi-partisan legislation to prevent fraud, waste and abuse within the program. We’ve passed legislation that enables the United States to once again play a leading role in writing the rules for the global economy and shape the future of global trade. And we passed bipartisan legislation that takes steps to protect and improve Social Security disability benefits for the future.
“As chairman I intend to marshal the best ideas and work of this committee to advance Speaker Ryan’s pro-growth agenda and help lift this country and its people into greater prosperity.
“I know that the members of this committee have differing opinions as to how we accomplish this goal. But I have great respect for Ranking Member Levin and the talented group of Democrats he leads. Like my predecessors in this chair, I’ll continue to look to find common ground to help improve the lives of all Americans.
“Over the coming months we are going to take real steps toward fixing our broken tax code by examining and engaging the ideas and energy of every House member who wishes to be heard. America needs a simpler, fairer, flatter tax code that’s built for growth – the growth of our family’s paychecks, the growth of our local businesses, and the economic growth of our nation.
“An important step is before us as we work to end this ridiculous cycle of important but temporary tax provisions. Permanency creates certainty, boosts the local economy, and advances tax simplification by removing the asterisk from so many temporary provisions.
“We will pursue modernizing America’s outdated international tax rules to stop foreign competitors and foreign governments from gobbling up the jobs and profits of American businesses. Some estimate more than $2 trillion in American profits are stranded overseas – and no one has yet convinced me a dollar left overseas is better than a dollar brought home to be invested in new research, jobs and facilities.
“It’s not enough to simply ‘buy American’, we have to ‘sell American’ as well. That means advancing an ambitious trade agenda that creates opportunities for American workers, farmers and local businesses to sell their products and services to every corner of the globe. And I intend for this committee to examine closely and transparently the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement to determine if it achieves the high ambition set forth in our new trade rules.
“I strongly believe federal programs shouldn’t trap Americans in poverty. That’s why we’re going to continue to advance legislation to reform our nation’s welfare programs. Along the way we will focus on modern anti-poverty solutions proven to help move Americans from government benefit checks to real paychecks and the unlimited opportunity our people deserve.
“Many of us are convinced there is a better way to provide affordable, patient-centered health care than the Affordable Care Act, and we’ll continue to fight for patients, local businesses and health care professionals who have been harmed by this law.
“Lastly, the longer we put off saving Social Security and Medicare for the long term, the more difficult the task becomes. We have ideas, and so do our Democratic friends. It’s time to act now to take steps small and large to strengthen and save these important programs.
“That’s an ambitious agenda, I concede, and none of this will happen overnight as we pursue regular order and broad input from our respective conferences. But the talent and dedication on this committee is undeniable. We simply have to find the will and the way to tackle these big challenges. If not us, then who?
“Again, I am honored to lead this committee. Let’s get to work.”