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Brady Opening Statement at Hearing on The President’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Proposal with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin

March 14, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at a Full Committee Hearing on The President’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Proposal with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.

CLICK HERE to watch the hearing.

Remarks as prepared for delivery: 

“Thank you, Chairman Neal.

“And thank you, Secretary Mnuchin, for being here with us to discuss President Trump’s recent budget proposal. 

“Mr. Secretary, two years ago you sat in that very chair to discuss the President’s initial budget proposal. 

“You told us that your number one priority was growth – that tax reform and balanced regulations would unleash the economic potential of America. 

“You had plenty of skeptics.  Experts told us there was a new normal in America: sluggish 2 percent growth for as far as the eye could see. 

“They said we had to simply accept that paychecks would remain flat, jobs would keep going overseas, and U.S. manufacturing jobs were gone – unless you wielded ‘a magic wand.’ 

“Larry Summers scoffed that we believed in tooth fairies, and then-Leader Nancy Pelosi famously declared it would be ‘Armageddon’ for America. 

“Man, were they wrong. 

“Thanks to a new, modern tax code and balanced regulation, we’ve launched a new era of American prosperity – where workers have first claim over their earnings, small business and manufacturing is back, and American companies can compete and win anywhere in the world, especially here at home.

“America’s economy is growing 50 percent faster than predicted by the Obama White House.

“Local businesses are investing four times faster than the last year of the prior administration.  U.S. manufacturing is no longer losing jobs but growing six times faster than President Obama’s last few years.

“Blue-collar employment is surging.

“The unemployment rate is at historically good rates for those who were left behind in the past: Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans, women, teenagers, those without a high school degree, and our neighbors with disabilities.

“Paychecks – stagnant for far too long – are growing at their fastest rate in a decade; and even faster among those with low incomes who need it most. 

“Today, median household income rose above $61,000 for the first time since 1999.  And hardworking Americans haven’t felt this optimistic about their financial situation in a long time. 

“New business starts are skyrocketing and small businesses along Main Street are the most optimistic on record, with historically high job openings, plans to hire more workers, higher paychecks, and growing profits.

“Here is what makes me optimistic.  Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps since President Trump was elected.  The poverty rate for Hispanics and African Americans have improved dramatically and is now the lowest on record. 

“Maybe that’s why Americans consumer confidence reached an 18-year high recently.

“With investment and jobs coming back from overseas, millions of workers with higher paychecks, bonuses and larger nest eggs, local businesses no longer saddled with billions of dollars of Washington red tape, U.S. energy now the largest producer in the world, and America once again the most competitive economy in the world — that optimism makes sense.  

“But we must not go back to the bad old days by repealing the tax cuts and harming the very Americans who need help the most.

“Rather than wasting time in Congress on a rush to impeachment, Democrats and Republicans need to work together to grow the economy.

“America needs more customers and more workers.  

“This means approving the new, modernized U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement this year – so we can reach more customers, create more jobs, and sell more ‘Made-In-America’ goods to our two best trading partners. 

“It means working together on the number one economic challenge facing America today: our workforce.  Lack of qualified workers is holding down economic growth across the country and will slow growth even more in the future.

“And it means working together to ensure America remains competitive internationally by challenging France’s recent proposal to tax cross-border digital services.  This is a naked revenue grab that targets U.S. companies, double-taxes our businesses, and violates long-standing norms. 

“I’m hopeful that together we can work on other shared priorities: like increasing retirement security for our workers and families, reforming the IRS, and growing America’s infrastructure. 

“Mr. Secretary, there are many good, pro-growth proposals in the President’s budget for Congress to consider. 

“We thank you for being here, and Mr. Chairman, I yield back.”