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Chairman Brady Opening Statement at the First W&M Markup of the 115th Congress

February 14, 2017

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

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Before we start with today’s business, I would like to recognize our newest Member, Representative Judy Chu from California, who joins us, replacing long-time California Member Xavier Becerra.  Ms. Chu – welcome.

“We also have a change on this side of the aisle – although one involving subtraction, and not yet addition.  Our colleague Dr. Tom Price was confirmed on Friday as HHS Secretary.  We wish him well in that new role.  

“At today’s meeting, we will be considering four important items.

“First, we’ll consider our Committee’s Authorization and Oversight Plan for the 115th Congress. House Rules this Congress require Committees to identify unauthorized programs within their jurisdiction and to lay out a general plan to reauthorize these programs.  The list of unauthorized programs is relatively short for our committee, but has been included in the document before you. 

“As in years past, we also lay out our plans for oversight during the coming Congress. The oversight plan for this congress builds upon the work this Committee has been doing for years. It includes a focus on transforming our current tax code from one of complexity into one that is simpler and built for growth.

“It also highlights an opportunity to make progress on reforming our health care system. Oversight of trade, social security, and programs to assist low-income families remain a priority for our Committee. The Committee’s oversight plan lays out our continued commitment to robust congressional oversight of federal programs. There’s obviously a lot of work to do, and that’s what people expect us to deliver.

“Our second item for consideration is the Committee’s Views and Estimates to the Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 2017.  

“Our Views and Estimates letter is an excellent reminder that the work of our committee directly impacts the economy and the life of every single American.  As it lays out, the current pace of economic growth is too slow to achieve Americans’ hopes and dreams and making sure everyone shares in our country’s prosperity.  

“The letter lays out the ambitious agenda we have set for the year ahead, including: comprehensive tax reform to create a fairer, simpler tax code built for growth; expanding trade especially through providing new opportunities to grow exports of American-made goods and services; reforming welfare to help more families escape poverty, reward work, and support upward mobility; reducing the national debt; and eliminating inefficient and counter-productive government regulations. 

“These steps provide more detail on how we plan to move forward with that pro‑growth agenda.  The letter we are sending today clearly communicates how we are taking action on all policy fronts to grow our economy and help the American people thrive.

“Our final items on the agenda are ratification of our Subcommittee assignments for the 115th Congress and appointments to the Joint Committee on Taxation. 

“While these may seem like simple procedural formalities, they are important to starting off the 115th Congress in an organized, focused, and effective manner. This is where we – as a Committee – identify the major challenges facing our economy and our nation, and it’s where we begin to move forward with a pro-growth agenda focused on solving them.

“I’m grateful to everyone for being here to take part in this important work on behalf of the American people. 

“At this time, I recognize the Ranking Member for any opening remarks he may have.”