President Biden’s radical actions have been costly for the American people. The Biden Administration has pursued unprecedented executive overreach and the public deserves to know the impact of its policies, Ways and Means Republican Leader Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) said in opening remarks before a full committee meeting. .
Rep. Brady also discussed a bill to improve Social Security for teachers, police officers, and firefighters by replacing the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) with a fairer formula based on each individual’s work record – tailored to their work history, not a one-size-fits-all formula.
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Rep. Brady’s full remarks as prepared for delivery appear below.
Thank you, Chairman Neal.
Let me begin with the resolutions of inquiry.
President Biden promised on his first day in the White House he would “bring transparency and truth back to the government.”
But as with his promises to unite America, defeat COVID, and make our neighborhoods safe, he failed on this promise too.
From the greatest theft of American tax dollars in history, to the sudden destruction of 30 million tax returns, to the give-away of lifesaving American vaccine patents to China, to a rash proposal to give up Congress’s sovereignty of America’s tax code to foreign organizations, to an illegal effort to ignore the Obamacare letter of the law, to sending stimulus checks to felons and the dead, the Biden Administration has pursued unprecedented executive overreach to impose radical White House policies that are hurting the American people and driving inflation even higher.
During his first year, the President has issued more executive orders and approved more major regulatory burdens than any recent president – many of them have been rejected by federal courts.
Those actions have been costly for the American people.
Because the public deserves to know how these radical actions occurred, congressional Republicans have repeatedly sought information from the Administration about the expected and actual impact of these policies.
The Administration, of course, ignored Congress’s oversight responsibilities. I was pleased when Ways and Means Oversight Chairman Pascrell agreed that the IRS should never ignore a request by any member of this committee. I think we all feel that way about the agencies in our jurisdiction.
Ways and Means Republicans will use every tool available and invite our Democrat colleagues to join us to exercise the Committee’s robust oversight and investigative powers, now and in the future – because the American people struggling in President Biden’s cruel economy deserve to know how their government works.
Also under discussion today as the Chairman noted is an issue that I care deeply about and many of us have spent years working on – making sure our teachers, police, and firefighters are treated fairly in Social Security by providing relief for workers and retirees who are harmed by the Windfall Elimination Provision – or WEP.
WEP is a one-size-fits-all policy from 1983 that reduces Social Security benefits for public servants who’ve spent a portion of their career contributing to a Social Security substitute and have also paid Social Security taxes in a second job, or a first career, or even a last career.
Each month that we wait to address the WEP, millions of public servants are losing benefits they worked hard to attain. They deserve equal treatment in Social Security – just as other workers are treated.
How Congress provides relief from WEP is crucial.
First, the solutions should seek equal treatment for public servants in a Social Security substitute without creating worse treatment for the 96 percent of American workers who only paid into Social Security.
We don’t want to flip the unequal treatment, punishing the vast majority of workers and retirees in Social Security through their benefits or their spouses benefits.
Secondly, any solution should protect the solvency of Social Security for the long term. Social Security is already in deep financial trouble, running a nearly $2.2 trillion deficit over the next 10 years.
If Congress doesn’t act, these Social Security benefits will be cut by a stunning 24 percent in 2034, barely a dozen years from now.
Congress shouldn’t take any action that accelerates the insolvency of Social Security over its 75-year window.
Finally, the solution shouldn’t impose or require higher payroll taxes either on workers or Main Street businesses already struggling with record high inflation.
Later, during this debate, I plan to offer the bipartisan Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2021. The bill includes a solution that not only improves Social Security’s finances, but also permanently replaces the unfair WEP with a new, more equitable formula that takes an important step to put public servants on equal footing with other American workers.
This bill will replace the WEP with a fairer formula based on each individual’s work record – tailored to their work history, not a one-size-fits-all formula.
Is this bill perfect yet? Absolutely not.
There are some outstanding issues we are working on to make sure it’s fair to all while protecting the finances of Social Security.
I plan on withdrawing the amendment at the appropriate time so Chairman Neal and this committee can continue to work to find consensus to repeal and replace WEP, immediately beginning to get public servants more of their hard-earned Social Security, and do it in a way it that doesn’t accelerate the insolvency of this important program.
With that, Chairman Neal, I yield back.