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HEARING: Brady Opening Statement at Hearing on the President’s FY 2017 Budget with Treasury Secretary Lew

February 11, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement during the Ways and Means hearing on the President’s fiscal year 2017 budget proposal with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you for joining us today Secretary Lew. We appreciate your time.

“Either President Obama did not take the budget process seriously this year or he is completely out of touch with the American people. It is hard to imagine how he could believe people would support a budget that contains a $3.4 trillion tax increase and $2.5 trillion in new spending.

“For another fiscal year, his extremely liberal budget is focused on growing Washington – not growing our economy.

“This document appears to exist solely to promote the President’s liberal legacy. And, it is a disservice to the American people. While he gets to leave office at the end of the year, Americans would still be expected to pay for his irresponsible spending if Congress were to follow his lead.

“Instead of solving real problems, this budget just makes life even more expensive for all Americans.

“The American people want jobs and opportunity – not higher taxes and more wasteful Washington spending.

“While I believe the majority of this budget is completely irresponsible, I’d like to talk to you today about three of my top concerns.

“First, the President’s plan to increase gas prices by 25 cents per gallon is frankly absurd. Gas prices are low today – but we all know that will not always be the case. This new tax also would have ripple effects across the economy, spiraling into an effectively regressive tax on consumer goods and services, which would hit Americans with fixed incomes the hardest, especially our senior citizens.

“The good news is that the American people do not have to worry about this horrible idea. I feel confident that I can speak for the 24 Republican members of our committee when I say that this tax proposal is dead on arrival.

“Second, I am absolutely opposed to the President’s plan to impose significant new taxes on small businesses by expanding the net investment income tax to all small business income.

“Mr. Secretary, our country is already experiencing anemic economic growth and millions of Americans have given up hope of finding a new job. Instead of finding new ways to add additional tax burdens on our small businesses, this Administration should do everything possible to encourage Americans to start small businesses, hire new workers, and build the success stories of tomorrow. This new tax hike is another proposal that will not see the light of day in this Congress.

“And finally, the President’s budget does not address the fundamental problem of our broken tax code. Instead, it contains tax proposals that will actually make it harder for American companies to compete and succeed overseas and hire new workers at home.

“Members of the Ways and Means Committee are working to provide the American people with a better alternative. Instead of higher taxes and more spending, we are committed to a pro-growth agenda that will help create jobs, increase paychecks, and expand opportunities for all Americans.

“Despite my objections to many of the proposals in this budget, I do hope that we can reach common ground on some policies and build on the momentum from last December’s PATH Act. Our first effort must be to address our broken international tax rules and the growing threat to American worldwide companies.

“The risks are far greater than many perceive. These companies provide good-paying jobs across this country, and they are key partners to the thousands of local businesses in each of our districts that supply goods and services throughout the supply chain. We simply cannot ignore the broad ramifications of our outdated international tax rules any longer.

“If we can seize the opportunity to move forward in this critical area, I am confident we can keep the ball rolling. I’m hopeful that we can count on working with you, Mr. Secretary, to take some important steps toward the pro-growth economy every American needs.

“Thank you again for joining us today. We appreciate your time and look forward to your testimony.”