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ICYMI – Chairman Brady Op-ed in The Hill: Ways and Means Republicans ready to grow the economy, help Americans

January 11, 2017

Ways and Means Republicans ready to grow the economy, help Americans
Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX)
The Hill
January 11, 2017

For the first time in a long time, Americans across the country are looking to the New Year with optimism about the prospects for tackling some of the most pressing challenges facing our nation. In the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee—which has jurisdiction over taxes, international trade, health care, several anti-poverty programs, Medicare, and Social Security—our six Subcommittees are preparing ambitious agendas to grow our economy and help Americans of all walks of life.

Last week, the Ways and Means Committee announced our new Members and Subcommittee assignments for the 115th Congress. We have an outstanding team and we’re excited to get to work on the American people’s priorities. Here’s a preview of what we are working to deliver in 2017:

For our Tax Policy Subcommittee—and the Ways and Means Committee as a whole—pro-growth tax reform is a top agenda item. The main goal is to craft comprehensive tax reform legislation that grows our economy, eliminates special interest loopholes, and makes the United States a magnet for investment and job creation. We know that pro-growth tax reform is a major priority for the President-elect. We are eager to work with the incoming Administration to deliver a 21st century tax code that delivers the fairness, economic growth, and international competitiveness that Americans deserve. Thanks to the vision of Speaker Ryan and the hard work of House Republicans last year in developing our “Better Way” tax reform Blueprint, we are in an excellent position to hit the ground running this year.

Our Health Subcommittee will be responsible for crucial aspects of the House’s effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Our first objective is to provide relief for the millions of Americans who have been hurt by this failing law. Then we can move forward with reforms that offer Americans more choices, greater access, and better care—all at lower costs. We’ll also continue efforts to strengthen and preserve Medicare, a critical program millions of seniors rely on for care. Building off the landmark reforms to Medicare enacted during the 114th Congress, our Health Subcommittee will advance step-by-step solutions that further improve choice, affordability, and quality in Medicare. Above all, we are focused on delivering a 21st century health care system based on what patients and families want and need, not what Washington thinks is best.

The freedom to trade lies at the heart of our nation’s economic prosperity and leadership. But, if trade is to benefit our businesses, workers, and communities, we must ensure that it is conducted fairly and according to strictly enforced rules. This is why strong trade enforcement will be a major focus for our Trade Subcommittee in 2017, along with identifying new opportunities to grow our economy and create more U.S. jobs through free and fair trade. To promote lasting economic growth in America, it’s not enough to simply buy American-made products—we also have to sell American-made products, and we have to do so throughout the world, given that 96 percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders.

Human Resources
Over the coming year, our Human Resources Subcommittee will continue to focus on advancing solutions to help more families climb the economic ladder and escape poverty. We will continue taking action to ensure the programs under our Committee’s jurisdiction are encouraging and rewarding work rather than replacing it. In addition, we will advance evidence-based reforms to fund more programs that actually work, such as the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, which has delivered positive results for families by empowering parents to achieve better outcomes for themselves and their children.

Social Security
In 2017, our Social Security Subcommittee will focus on advancing solutions to make this vital program work better for seniors and individuals with disabilities today and in the future. For example, our teachers, firefighters, and police officers are not always treated equally when it comes to Social Security due to a flawed policy known as the Windfall Elimination Provision. The lead Democrat on our Committee, Rep. Richard Neal, and I have been working together on a solution to this problem and we will continue that effort this year. In addition, our Social Security Subcommittee will build on the good work of previous Congresses and continue to protect Americans’ identities by limiting the use of Social Security Numbers when it just isn’t necessary.

The Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee plays a vital role in upholding our constitutional obligation to ensure that the laws passed in Congress are faithfully implemented. Over the coming year, our Oversight Subcommittee will continue its important work to ensure that America’s tax laws are administered with transparency and integrity. This includes a strong focus on holding the Internal Revenue Service accountable to the taxpayers it serves. Our Oversight Subcommittee will also be closely involved in efforts to identify and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare, Social Security, and the health care and anti-poverty programs under Ways and Means jurisdiction.

Ways and Means Republicans are excited to work with the President-elect and our colleagues in the House and Senate to grow America’s economy and help families nationwide. The American people have high expectations for the year ahead. We are ready to step up to the plate.