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Chairman Brady Opening Statement at the Ways and Means Organizational Meeting for the 115th Congress

January 12, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) today delivered the following opening statement at the Ways and Means Committee organizational meeting for the 115th Congress:

The Year Ahead

“I would like to welcome all of you to the Ways and Means Committee for the 115th Congress, especially our new Members, who we will introduce in just a moment. The purpose of this meeting is to officially organize the Committee for the 115th Congress and to approve its rules.

“As Members of the Ways and Means Committee, we have the privilege and the responsibility of making policy decisions that affect every single American. This Congress, we will have a historic opportunity to make an incredible difference for the people, families, and job creators in all of our communities. I’m honored and thrilled to work with all of you.

“Before we turn our focus to the business at hand, I want to recognize Mr. Levin for his outstanding work and leadership as Ranking Member over these past years.

“Mr. Levin, we are grateful for your service as Ranking Member and I know you will continue to be a strong voice and good friend on the Committee moving forward.

“I would also like to welcome and congratulate Ranking Member Neal. This is an exciting time for both of our parties. With your commitment to solving problems and your detailed understanding of the complex issues under our Committee’s jurisdiction, I know that your leadership will only make our work more impactful. I look forward to working with you.

“As I mentioned, we have an incredible opportunity this Congress to advance solutions that help Americans from all walks of life. That all starts today with approving our Committee’s rules. And it will continue throughout the 115th Congress with an open, inclusive legislative process that thoughtfully considers ideas from Members on both sides of the aisle.

“No matter if you are Republican or Democrat, a new or returning Committee Member – every Member of this Committee has valuable insights and expertise. Every one of you will play an active role in shaping the legislative solutions we deliver – solutions that will improve the lives of all Americans. I’m excited to get to work.”

Welcoming New Ways and Means Republican Members

“I’m honored to welcome David Schweikert, Jackie Walorski, and Carlos Curbelo.

“Each of our new Members comes to us with a wealth of policy knowledge and real-world experience. Most importantly, each of them understands how the decisions made by our Committee affect the lives of people in their districts and across our country.

“While all three of our new Members come from different backgrounds, they all have one important thing in common: They are strong, vocal leaders focused on solving problems for the people of their districts.

“But don’t take it from me – take it from their words and actions.

“Our first new Member – Mr. Schweikert – represents the 6th District of Arizona. In fact, he’s just the second Member in Ways and Means history from Arizona.

“Not only does David have a detailed understanding of complex tax, trade, and health care issues – he has a passion for solving them.

“Last week, in describing why he’s excited to be a part of the Committee, he discussed that passion and said – and I quote:

‘Where do you go if you want to do hard stuff? It’s the Ways and Means Committee.’

“I’m confident that David’s knowledge, expertise, and drive will be beneficial to our efforts on tax reform and in many other areas.

“Mr. Schweikert – welcome, and thank you for your service.

“Our next new Member – Ms. Walorski – represents the 2nd District of Indiana. Why is she excited to be a part of our Committee?

“She is – quote – ‘eager to tackle some of our nation’s biggest challenges.’

“And that’s exactly why we are excited to have her.

“Last year, as part of our ‘Better Way’ agenda, Jackie demonstrated her strong leadership. She was closely involved in developing solutions to help more Americans escape poverty and climb the economic ladder. We are all eager to work with her in the coming months.

“Ms. Walorski – welcome, and thank you for your service.

“Finally, I’m honored to recognize Mr. Curbelo – who represents the 26th District of Florida.

“As a South Florida native and small business owner, Carlos is intimately aware of the daily challenges facing Main Street job creators.

“And, as the son of Cuban immigrants who came to the United States to escape tyranny in the 1960s, Carlos understands the importance of ensuring that our nation is – and remains – a place where all people can build a better life if they dream big and work hard.

“In a statement last week, Carlos said he looks forward to advancing bipartisan solutions that will better the lives of those in his district and across the country.

“That is the enthusiasm and sense of purpose we all bring to this Committee every day.

“Mr. Curbelo – welcome, and thank you for your service.

“With that, I now recognize Ranking Member Neal to introduce his new Members.”