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Chairman Smith Opening Statement: American Families & Jobs Act and Taiwan Trade Legislation Markup

June 13, 2023

As prepared for delivery.

“The Ways and Means Committee kicked off this Congress by getting out of Washington and visiting communities across the country to hear firsthand hardworking Americans’ perspective on the state of the economy. I appreciate that so many of the members of this committee have taken the time to participate in these hearings.

“When we traveled to West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Georgia, we looked these Americans in the eye, shook their hand, and promised we would listen to what they had to say. Today we’re here to show them that we listened.

“For over two years, workers, families, farmers, and small business owners have lived with constant anxiety, worrying about how they will make ends meet. How they will put food on their tables, clothes on their backs, and gas in their cars. Small business owners are wondering when they will have to switch the ‘Help Wanted’ sign for a ‘Going Out of Business’ sign in the storefront window.

“The legislation we have before us today is for them and because of them. It’s for working families and small businesses who cannot afford an expensive lobbyist to make their voices heard.

“We have an opportunity today to take a strong step forward in delivering relief from the crises that define the lives taxpayers lead in President Biden’s America – whether it be the highest inflation in a generation, rising interest rates, insecure supply chains, or the labor shortage.

“This legislation represents a jobs package that will put money back into the pockets of hardworking Americans’ who have seen so much of their paychecks stolen by inflation. The guaranteed deduction bonus of $4,000 for families finally gives Americans some breathing room from the Washington price spikes.

“But it’s not just workers who need relief. Small businesses need it too.

“During a weakening economy, we must give farmers and manufacturers a fighting chance. This legislation makes it easier for entrepreneurs to pursue their American Dream, find the investment they need to start a new business. It helps small businesses grow and buy the new equipment needed to expand their facilities and be more productive.

“In growing our economy, no corner of the United States can be forgotten. In our hearings, it’s clear that rural America needs help. In the bills in front of the Committee today we are creating more opportunities to invest in rural communities so small towns don’t become ghost towns littered with shuttered businesses.

“Beyond our borders, it’s critical that we secure our supply chains to counter the Chinese Communist Party’s unfair trade practices and the first step is protecting our homeland.

“Chinese companies are buying up American farmland to gain access to U.S. agriculture. Our issue is not with the Chinese people, but with companies and officials tied to and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party who are utilizing economic forces to invade our country and threaten our economic and national security.

“Additionally, the policies before us today maintain or restore critical tax provisions like incentives for research and development, interest deductibility, and 100 percent immediate expensing, to make sure American companies can thrive and more American jobs are created.

“I want to pause here and preview what you’re going to hear from our Democrat colleagues. They are going to use the phrase ‘GOP tax scam’ dozens of times throughout the day, apparently referring to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Let’s set the record straight: TCJA delivered exactly what was promised – tax cuts for families, more jobs, and a growing economy.

“In the immediate years after passage of the TCJA, the economy grew a full percentage point higher than the previous 10 years. It sparked the fastest growth in real wages in the last 20 years, and Americans making less than $100,000 saw a 16 percent cut in their tax bill. At the same time, federal tax revenues – including corporate tax revenues – hit a record high in 2022. Overall revenues were 48 percent above 2017 levels and well above the Congressional Budget Office’s projections. So let’s not pretend that the TCJA robbed Uncle Sam of anything.

“There has been only one ‘tax scam’ during my time in Congress: the so-called Inflation Reduction Act that Democrats passed last year. Non-partisan Congressional scorekeepers agree: the IRA did nothing to address inflation – in fact, it increased reckless spending and added to the deficit. That reckless spending comes in the form of special interest tax favors for politically-connected industries and individuals – to the tune of $664 billion and counting. Over 90 percent of these corporate giveaways are going to companies with sales over $1 billion.

“This jobs package today puts workers and small businesses first. It puts a stop to Democrats’ runaway ‘green’ corporate welfare by repealing the worst of the special interest breaks.

“Lastly, in separate legislation, we will examine a trade deal with Taiwan that deepens our economic partnership with a democracy only 110 miles off China’s shore. This bipartisan bill acknowledges Taiwan is both a friend and critical economic ally while also reasserting congressional authority over trade both now and in the future.

“This Committee has the opportunity today to provide relief to Americans and small businesses that are being hammered in the Biden economy by putting money back into their pockets to provide for their families, expand their small businesses, and strengthen America.”