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Brady Opening Statement for Hearing on Jobs and Opportunity: Federal Perspectives on the Jobs Gap

April 17, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following remarks at a full Committee hearing on “Jobs and Opportunity: Federal Perspectives on the Jobs Gap.”

CLICK HERE to watch the hearing.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Thanks in large part to tax reform, our economy is booming and companies are hiring. Since President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, we’ve seen an average of 200,000 jobs created per month and over 400 companies – and counting – that have announced pay raises, bonuses, and investments in their workers and businesses.

“American companies are expanding and looking for more customers overseas. If we’re going to maximize America’s growing economy and this new pro-growth tax code, then we are going to need more workers.

“As part of our hearing series on ‘Jobs and Opportunity,’ we’ll explore how we can work with President Trump and Secretary Acosta to help workers on the sidelines find jobs and support their families.

“It’s clear that our human services programs have a role in supporting the next wave of workers needed to continue this economic growth. I’ve heard from business owners across the country who are looking for qualified applicants but striking out. That’s why today we’re looking at ways to help Americans who are stuck on the sidelines find work, grow their careers, and achieve the American Dream.

“Today we have too many who are missing out on the economic growth we are seeing. We know we have seven million working-age men between the ages of 25 and 54 who are not working. One in seven 16 to 24 year olds are not in school or working, totaling more than 5.5 million ‘disconnected’ youth nationwide.

“The ‘Jobs and Opportunity’ hearing series is focused on the Jobs Gap, the difference between employers’ increasing demand for workers in a strong economy and the relatively low percent of individuals in the workforce.

“For decades, money has been thrown blindly toward efforts to help Americans enter or even reenter the workforce, without a genuine regard for effectiveness in actually delivering real results. This approach lacks compassion and respect for American families struggling to get ahead. Instead, we need an approach that provides more Americans with personalized solutions, real paths out of poverty, and better opportunities to realize their potential through work.

“To do just that, we have a clear set of principles to guide our work and address the Jobs Gap.

“First, we will expect work-capable adults to work or prepare for work in exchange for receiving benefits because it helps to set individuals on a path to long-term employment.

“Second, we will strive to get program incentives right. If we can do that, recipients, taxpayers, employers, states, and nonprofits will all be better off when someone moves from welfare to work.

“Third, we will focus on the desired outcomes of programs, such as getting a job, keeping a job, and increasing earnings, and recognize what that involves to provide real help to individuals and families.

“And fourth, we will seek to improve the integrity of these programs by decreasing fraud while preserving access for those most in need.

“We’re committed to meaningful reforms to help Americans get back to work. By closing the Jobs Gap and providing real help to families, more Americans will share in the success of an economy that is continuing to grow.”