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Buchanan Opening Statement at Hearing on Trade Infrastructure for Global Competitiveness

February 06, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Vern Buchanan (R-FL) delivered the following opening statement at a Subcommittee Hearing on Trade Infrastructure for Global Competitiveness.

Before the start of today’s hearing, Rep. Buchanan and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the top Republican on the Committee, sent a letter to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). CLICK HERE to read the full letter.

CLICK HERE to watch the hearing.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this important hearing on Trade Infrastructure and Global Competitiveness. There is bipartisan consensus as to the need for strong and effective infrastructure to maintain our competitive edge internationally.  I hope we can work together to find effective solutions to compete and win in the global economy. And thank you to the witnesses here today for taking the time to testify and share your views.

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your commitment to getting to yes on USMCA. I was proud to work with you and President Trump to build strong bipartisan support for this important agreement, which gives our negotiators credibility in our other negotiations. Of course, to ensure Americans see the benefits they are expecting from this and other recent trade agreements, we need the right infrastructure to move goods, services, and people efficiently.

“I was glad to see the focus on competitiveness in today’s hearing. American economic competitiveness is vital to preserving our influence abroad. We must pursue policies that allow American manufacturers, workers, and farmers to thrive on the global stage. Improving our Infrastructure is one aspect of this challenge, but we also must prioritize growth and a strong economy.

“That is why Republicans, under the leadership of President Trump, have enacted pro-growth policies to create a booming economy that is working for Americans. Republican tax cuts, regulatory reforms, and trade deals have bolstered our standing worldwide and strengthened our competitiveness.

“Investments in infrastructure, when done right, can also help facilitate trade and growth in our economy. However, infrastructure projects in the U.S. are among the most expensive in the world because of regulatory burdens. As someone who comes from a business background, it is clear to me that we need to streamline how we build and maintain our infrastructure. And we need to be smart about how we use technology and maximize public-private partnerships. These steps will allow us to leverage each dollar spent on infrastructure as effectively as possible, allowing for more growth and competitiveness.

“When it comes to trade, as a Representative from a trade-dependent state like Florida, I understand the importance of strong infrastructure in facilitating international commerce. In my district, Port Manatee adds more than $2.3 billion annually in regional economic impact and supports more than 24,000 jobs.

“To conclude, Republicans agree that strong and effective infrastructure is essential to facilitating trade and our competitiveness. I hope we can work together to improve our infrastructure in a cost effective and efficient way.

“Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for calling this hearing, and thank you to the witnesses for taking the time to be here before us today.”