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 Markup of of Social Security and Tax Legislation.
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Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you, Chairman Neal.
“We’re in this Committee room likely for the last time in 2019, and yet so little has been done by the House Democrat majority during this last year.
“Let’s run through the list.
“The bipartisan work on lowering drug prices has been abandoned.
“Instead of working toward long-term solutions to fix pensions, Democrats decided to bleed out Washington’s coffers without offering real reforms. And we have yet to see bipartisan action on fixing the WEP.
“Today’s debate is a rare mixed bag.
“On the one hand, we have a bill that is bipartisan and will help folks better plan for retirement. I’m glad to discuss it.
“On the other, we are being forced to vote on a partisan bill that poisons our nation’s tax code and gives the greenlight to local politicians to brutally tax their constituents.
“We know that in divided government, the only bills that can get signed into law are ones that have the support of Republicans and Democrats. And I wish we could have sent more bipartisan legislation to the President’s desk this year.
“The only reason we didn’t do that? Because Democrats insisted on impeachment as the primary legislative goal of the year.
“I hope House Democrats are happy with how they’ve spent their time, because the scoreboard doesn’t lie: They’ve racked up no points for the American people at a time when they need it most.
“We should have been doing more legislation like the first item on our agenda today, H.R. 5306, the Know Your Social Security Act.
“And before I talk more on this important, commonsense legislation, I want to take a moment to remember a public servant to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude to.
“Dorcas Hardy, who was the first woman confirmed to lead the Social Security Administration, passed away last week.
“A daughter of New Jersey with Ivy League credentials, Ms. Hardy exemplified public service. Starting her career in Sacramento for then-Government Reagan, and continuing to serve in his administration when he became President, Dorcas was never afraid to stand up for what she believed in.
“She was one of the most important women in Washington in the Reagan era. During her time as Commissioner, she launched the Social Security Statement, and it is fitting that this is the topic of our first bill today.
“And she continued to serve as the House Republican appointee to the Social Security Advisory Board for three terms, ending in 2016.
“Our country and Social Security are stronger today because of her service.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband, Samuel, her three stepchildren, and four grandchildren. May she rest in peace.
“Championed by Subcommittee Chairman John Larson and Rep. Vern Buchanan, H.R. 5306 is all about equipping taxpayers to know what their Social Security benefits are.
“Since the late 1980s, Social Security is required to send Statements to all taxpayers 25 and older who have paid into Social Security but are not yet receiving Social Security benefits.
“These important Statements help workers better plan for retirement.
“These Statements have been utilized successfully by taxpayers – but since 2011 millions of taxpayers have not been receiving Statements as Congress intended.
“Today’s bill clarifies that the SSA must provide a mailed copy of this annual statement to all workers ages 25 and older who are not yet receiving benefits unless the worker choses to receive that information electronically.
“It’s commonsense, worker-focused legislation that will make a difference for workers as they plan for the future.
“That’s the kind of bill that makes sense. It’s straightforward. We can all see the value of it.
“This other thing? Not so much. Democrats want to make our tax code more complicated and give local politicians a ‘thumbs up’ from Congress to brutally tax their citizens.
“I will talk more on that bill when it is introduced. But Republicans believe our tax code needs to serve all taxpayers, not just the well off in coastal states.
“Democrats are championing a bill that offers ‘tax cuts for the Wealthy, tax increases for small business and families.’
“We welcome that debate, because it’s one a majority of Americans need us to win.
“Thank you, Chairman.”