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Smith Opening Statement at Hearing on Temporary Policy in the Internal Revenue Code

March 12, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee Adrian Smith (R-NE) delivered the following opening statement at a Subcommittee Hearing on Temporary Policy in the Internal Revenue Code.

Before the start of today’s hearing, Rep. Smith and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the top Republican on the Committee, sent a letter to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) and Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee Chairman Mike Thompson (D-CA).  CLICK HERE to read the full letter.

CLICK HERE to watch the hearing.

“Thank you, Chairman Thompson for calling today’s hearing, and thank you to our witnesses.

“I am glad we are having a hearing on ways we can improve the tax code for families and small businesses, rather than wasting time on a rush to impeachment, which some of your colleagues seem to be singularly focused on.

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was transformative legislation to provide tax relief to middle class families, fix our broken tax code, and make American workers and companies competitive against foreign counterparts whose tax systems had become vastly more attractive to investment and growth.  TCJA helped working families by doubling the standard deduction and increasing the child credit, including its refundable portion. 

“Much more than that, the real impact on working Americans of TCJA, along with the deregulatory actions of this Administration, has been strong economic growth and the historic job market, markedly decreasing unemployment, increasing wages and creating opportunity for all Americans, including those on the bottom rung.  

“I strongly disagree with those calling for even deeper wealth redistribution, such as vastly increasing refundable credits, and moving towards 70 percent or even 90 percent marginal rates.

“Even President Obama understood the importance of reforming the corporate tax code and lowering the corporate rate.  However, we weren’t going to reform the code only for large corporations and leave our families and small businesses behind.

“There is broad agreement we should continue to work to modernize our tax code, and that temporary tax policy is not optimal for anyone – families, businesses, or even for us as policy makers. 

“Families and small businesses shouldn’t have to spend an entire calendar year wondering whether expired tax provisions will be reinstated retroactively.

“In the 115th Congress we took a number of steps in an effort to address temporary tax policy.  First, this Subcommittee held an extensive hearing which provided stakeholders and interested parties the opportunity to step forward and discuss the future of these provisions.  More than 20 parties appeared before this Subcommittee to begin this conversation.  I encourage our colleagues who are new to this committee to review that hearing record.

“Second, we attempted to address concerns about temporary policy through two pieces of legislation.  As part of Tax Reform 2.0, the House passed legislation to make permanent the tax relief provided to families and small businesses in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  I have not spoken to a single colleague who helped pass TCJA who wouldn’t have preferred to enact permanent policy in 2017, but unfortunately the Senate lacked the votes to make it happen .

“As one of our witnesses will point out, we would see even more growth if these provisions of TCJA were made permanent.

“And finally, toward the end of last year, the House passed legislation to address the two dozen so-called tax extenders which expired at the end of 2017.

“In particular, we should credit stakeholders interested in the short-line rail credit and biodiesel tax credit for stepping forward and bringing us constructive ideas to help provide long term certainty to those provisions.

“These short-line and biodiesel proposals followed on a previous round of tax extenders where we were able to make several provisions permanent and find long-term solutions to the wind and solar tax credits, recognizing those industries were reaching a point where taxpayer subsidies were no longer necessary for their viability.

“It is particularly disappointing we couldn’t complete our work on extenders last year because these industries which worked with us in good faith are now in their fifteenth month without an extension and with no solution in sight.

“As this conversation moves forward, I believe we can continue to work together to find bipartisan solutions regarding the remaining extenders.

“We look forward to working across the aisle to provide relief from uncertainty, first in the short term, but ultimately, we hope, for the long term.

“I yield back.”