Top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) opened a Republican roundtable examining how Democrats’ welfare expansion will fail the poor and threaten our jobs recovery.
The roundtable discussion featured testimony from former Ways and Means Chair and Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan and American Enterprise Institute President Robert Doar.
Excerpts from Rep. Brady’s opening remarks appear below.
- “Make no mistake: Democrats’ untargeted welfare-without-work expansion, paid for with tax hikes on the Middle Class and small businesses, and fraught with fraud, is the last thing Americans need today.”
- “By severing the work requirement, Democrats have turned the Child Tax Credit into a cash- for- kids welfare check that will crush Main Street’s hiring efforts.”
- “A recent study by the University of Chicago found that the Democrats’ expanded Child Tax Credit actually disincentivizes work and would lead to 1.5 million workers exiting the labor force at exactly the time we need the most.”
- “Their research found that the decline in employment and earnings loss actually offsets any reduction in child poverty and that the Child Tax Credit expansion would have no impact on deep child poverty.”
- “There was another report that many recipients were using the Tax Credit to save for retirement – a worthy goal, obviously, but that’s not what it’s designed for.”
- “Our belief as Republicans, is that instead of a dangerous expansion of the welfare state and undoing the successes of tax reform, Democrats should work with us to charter a new era of economic growth and opportunity for working families.”
CLICK HERE to watch the meeting.
Rep. Brady’s full remarks as prepared for delivery appear below.
Good morning – and thank you all for joining us. Thank you to Congresswoman Walorski for leading this roundtable discussion with me today.
Earlier this year, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the historic and successful bipartisan welfare reform ushered in by Republicans in Congress and President Bill Clinton.
It lifted millions of Americans out of poverty and helped especially single moms who’d been left behind in the old welfare system.
Unfortunately, today, Democrats in Congress won’t work with us to jump start our economic growth and move people back into the workforce
It appears that they are more interested in paying people more and giving people better health care benefits to stay home than to reconnect to their jobs.
As a result, America’s economic and jobs recovery has slowed down and is in crisis. More than half of small business owners are unable to find the workers they need, and as you know family paychecks cannot keep up with higher prices.
Make no mistake: Democrats’ untargeted welfare-without-work expansion, paid for with tax hikes on the Middle Class and small businesses, and fraught with fraud, is the last thing Americans need today.
By severing the work requirement, Democrats have turned the Child Tax Credit into a cash for kids welfare check that will crush Main Street’s hiring efforts.
You may remember, in 1997, Republicans in Congress created the Child Tax Credit for two reasons. One, to help families with the cost of raising kids, but secondly as part of our welfare reform efforts to reward parents for reconnecting to work.
But today, unfortunately, Democrats are taking it in a different direction. We’ve heard it often, Democrats have falsely claimed that expansion of the Child Tax Credit will reduce child poverty by half. But that is based on flawed studies..
During the debt ceiling floor debate, one Democrat argued passionately that providing 69 million American kids with monthly payments has resulted in lifting almost half of poor children out of poverty. And it is widely popular with the American public.”
But a Left-leaning organization noted that this summer, July only about 720,000 of the approximately 7 million kids that are eligible – one out of ten – but not already registered with the IRS, were successfully receiving the new child tax credit, and that 90 percent or more of the kids the IRS needed to reach haven’t been
Just a few months ago, I spoke with a restaurant owner who lost a good, hardworking employee once the Child Tax Credit kicked in, putting more strain on his workforce.
But you don’t have to just take one local restaurateur’s word for it. A recent study by the University of Chicago found that the Democrats’ expanded Child Tax Credit actually disincentivizes work and would lead to 1.5 million workers exiting the labor force at exactly the time we need the most
Their research found that the decline in employment and earnings loss actually offsets any reduction in child poverty and that the Child Tax Credit expansion would have no impact on deep child poverty.
There was another report that many recipients were using the Tax Credit to save for retirement – a worthy goal, obviously, but that’s not what it’s designed for.
We also know with an estimated 400 billion dollars in taxpayer dollars lost to fraud in previous COVID programs, these untargeted programs are particularly vulnerable.
Is it any wonder the majority of Americans oppose making Democrats’ expanded cash-for-kids welfare program permanent?
Here is the bottom line: Struggling families need good paying jobs and rising paychecks, not endless government checks to escape poverty
President Ronald Reagan’s point that “the best anti-poverty program is a job” remains true today.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, led by our witness Speaker Paul Ryan,reduced poverty to a historic low, provided the highest wage gains for the lowest earning Americans, and created more jobs for workers to choose from.
In fact, in those first two years more than 6 million people were lifted out of poverty. That poverty rate fell to 10.5 percent, the lowest level in U.S. history. And the poverty rate for black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans fell to all-time lows.
Republicans have also worked to reform existing welfare programs, passing the JOBS for Success Act out of the House when we were in the majority. Our bill, re-introduced this year, includes policies that would direct funds to invest in marginalized workers, making sure none of them were left behind, and helping them get the skills that lead to work – based on the goal of growing the capacity of individuals, not anchoring them to government checks.
Sadly, the Biden Administration wants to take a different approach: prolonging emergency spending, endless government checks, and job-killing tax hikes.
Our belief as Republicans, is that instead of a dangerous expansion of the welfare state and undoing the successes of tax reform, Democrats should work with us to charter a new era of economic growth and opportunity for working families.
Before I turn it over to my friend and colleague Congresswoman Walorski, I want to take a moment to introduce our two distinguished guests.
First, I am delighted to welcome former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
Before he took the Speaker’s gavel, he had a more important job. He served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and as you know he worked tirelessly to grow our economy, to protect health care choices, to advance free trade, to reform the welfare system, and provide growth and opportunity for every American, regardless of the circumstances of your birth.
As Speaker, Paul developed the Better Way agenda, with a specific focus on how to address systemic poverty in America by reforming the social safety net in order to increase that opportunity. I know, and we all know, he is particularly passionate about this issue and has been a leader and inspiration for so many of us
Today, among other activities, he is a Professor at the University of Notre Dame and visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute and on the Board of Directors for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
I am also pleased to welcome American Enterprise Institute (AEI) President Robert Doar.
After serving for more than 20 years in leadership positions in the social service programs in New York and New York City, Mr. Doar joined AEI in 2014 to create a new body of work on poverty studies.
Two years ago, she was selected by AEI’s Board of Trustees to be the Institute’s 12th president. He is the leading voice in the national discussion on the importance of work, family, and personal responsibility and human flourishing.
We’re grateful to have both of you here today to share your particular insights as we examine what we view as a dangerous expansion of the welfare state that will hook another generation of Americans into government dependency.
And with that, I’d like to turn it over to our champion, Congresswoman Walorski.