WASHINGTON, D.C. – The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at a Ways and Means Committee Members’ Day Hearing.
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Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you, Chairman Neal.
“There are many important topics Republicans are eager to discuss today. Sadly, up to this point the House Democrat majority’s agenda has consisted mostly of a rush to impeach of the President.
“This is not what folks back home sent us here to do. Nor is it the way to govern.
“But as we saw with the SECURE Act – our bipartisan passage of our retirement and savings legislation – when lawmakers, instead of playing politics, work together on the real problems folks are facing, we can achieve a great deal of progress.
“Today should be a discussion on how to continue advancing important legislation, like the SECURE Act, to help workers and Main Street businesses thrive.
“Just as we passed legislation to help folks save for retirement, we must also take needed action this year to make Social Security fairer for our teachers, police officers, and firefighters.
“Workers pay into Social Security. And they rightly have the expectation that they will receive the benefits they’ve earned when they retire.
“But as we have known for some time, WEP, though well intentioned, has treated many of our public servants unfairly.
“Chairman Neal and I agree that the WEP needs to be fixed on a bipartisan basis. We need to work together to pass a bill out of this Committee that President Trump can sign into law.
“Fixing WEP will give our teachers, police officers, and firefighters greater certainty when planning for retirement.
“Let’s continue our efforts to ensure that public servants are treated fairly when it comes to Social Security.
“Last year, this House voted to make permanent the middle-class and small business tax cuts from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
“There is no excuse for why we cannot do that again now.
“It’s incredibly important we do so for that single mom with two kids who today doesn’t pay a dime in federal income taxes on her first $53,000 of income.
“It’s important for the millions more families who today enjoy a Child Tax Credit twice its size.
“And it’s equally as crucial we lock-in the 20-percent historic small business tax cut for all our Main Street businesses.
“In addition to permanence, we must also work on passing the technical corrections we have identified to ensure this new tax code is working as intended.
“Technical corrections are a routine part of the legislative process – and the sooner we get these minor tweaks signed into law, the better.
“Since our new tax code was signed into law, our economy is the envy of the world.
“One of the reforms we implemented was to reverse the Obamacare medical expense deduction tax increase. The GOP House kept rates low last year for seniors – this deserves to become law.
“And we can do even more to help lower health care costs for patients and seniors by providing relief from some of Obamacare’s most egregious health care taxes.
“Doing so will provide needed, timely help to make health coverage more affordable and advance innovation.
“Advancing all these things will only add to our country’s economic strength.
“For proof of strength in our economy, look no further than our workforce. We have 3.8 percent unemployment – there are currently one million more job openings than there are available workers, creating a ‘jobs gap.’
“This ‘jobs gap’ is a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. If we don’t address our workforce shortage now, growth will slow.
“We cannot allow that to happen.
“This is why Republicans introduced welfare reform legislation to help move folks who are currently stuck on the sidelines into the front lines of employment.
“Our bicameral bill – the JOBS for Success Act – will help these parents find and retain good-paying jobs.
“Let’s have a discussion on how we can build on our welfare reform proposals to help our families succeed.
“Simply reauthorizing TANF funds again and again without reforms, as we did yesterday, will not cut it.
“Critically as important, we know that we can continue to grow job opportunities through trade.
“Since it was first signed into law, NAFTA has transformed America’s economy and our continent into an economic engine for growth. Recently, the Trump Administration modernized NAFTA through the USMCA.
“This drastically improved agreement will continue to grow jobs and wages here at home – and every day Congress delays in consideration hurts jobs, sales of Made-In-America products, and our economy.
“The time to act is now. We call on House Democrats to work with us to get this done for our country.
“And one last area of focus I hope we’ll address today is on increasing American innovation.
“Our innovators and entrepreneurs make our country more competitive on a global scale. The bipartisan American Innovation Act, approved by the House last year, is a step forward to achieve that.
“I’m looking forward to a productive discussion with Members to hear their ideas on how we can continue to boost our economy for years to come.”