WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) today delivered the following opening statement at a Full Committee hearing on Department of Treasury’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request.
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Remarks as delivered:
“Before we get started today, I want to take a moment to offer our Committee’s deepest condolences for all those impacted by yesterday’s tragic shooting in Florida. Our hearts go out to all the victims and their loved ones. Please know you are in our prayers.
“Today, our Committee is honored to welcome Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to testify on President Trump’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposals for the Treasury Department.
“Mr. Secretary, we appreciate your time and look forward to your testimony.
“Our Committee’s annual hearing with the Treasury Secretary plays a key role in our work on behalf of the American people – and we have a lot of important work ahead of us.
“Mr. Secretary, when you were here last year, you told us your number one priority was economic growth for America.
“Then and now we share that priority, especially on tax reform.
“Last year, working together with you, President Trump, and the Senate, we successfully overhauled our nation’s tax code for the first time in 31 years.
“With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we now have a tax code that is specifically built for growth – to deliver more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks to Americans nationwide.
“And with this law, families will be able to keep more of their hard-earned money to use as they see fit. In fact, a four-person family will pay no income tax under the new law until their income exceeds $61,000.
“In my district back in Texas, a typical middle-income family of four, parents with two kids, will see a total tax cut of over $2,600.
“This is real money that will have a real impact for so many hardworking families. The benefits don’t stop there.
“Since tax reform, utility companies are announcing lower rates.
“Businesses are announcing more jobs and new investments here in America.
“And our companies are bringing home money from overseas to invest in our communities and in our workers.
“As encouraging as this is, it’s only the beginning. There are still a lot of benefits to come for workers and families across the country as this new tax code unleashes the growth of jobs and paychecks in our economy.
“At the same time, there is still more that we can do to advance tax reform. That’s why today’s hearing with you is so important.
“Looking ahead, we have a couple specific areas we are eager to discuss today.
“First, as we all know, there’s no such thing as a perfect tax system. And where imperfections may exist in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we have a responsibility to provide real, workable solutions.
“We are taking this approach right now as it relates to section 199A of the bill, which offers a first-ever 20 percent deduction for pass-through business income – incredibly important for our Main Street businesses, farmers, and ranchers.
“We know that certain parts of this provision are having unintended consequences for our farmers and our ranchers due to the treatment of farm cooperatives.
“I am committed to working with our Ways and Means Members, with Senator Hatch and the Senate Finance Committee, and the Administration and stakeholders to develop the right solution now – one that is thoughtful, carefully crafted, and successful in restoring balanced competition in the marketplace.
“The urgent objective is to make sure that all our farmers and ranchers can reap the benefits of tax reform – and we are committed to taking action on a solution as soon as possible.
“Next, now that we have a new tax code built for a new era of American prosperity, this Committee and the Treasury Department have a shared responsibility to ensure this new tax law is working on behalf of all Americans.
“This includes holding the IRS accountable and making sure the agency administers our tax code with a renewed focus on fairness, integrity, and taxpayer service.
“We also have the opportunity to build on the success of tax reform to ensure that America’s economy continues to grow.
“Our local businesses told us the slow-growth status quo of 2 percent for the past decade simply isn’t working. We decided to go bold, and change that with historic reforms to help them grow and create jobs along Main Street.
“Just in the last few days just in town hall meetings across our district, I’ve heard from local restaurant owners who are adding new workers. From an auto dealer who is adding two more employees. From a business that is increasing their purchase of American-made construction equipment by $2 million this year because of the tax code.
“And at dinner the other night, a local in Navasota, Texas, ran into a business owner who has 160 workers – every one of them got a 10 percent pay raise because of this new tax code. This is happening all over America.
“For the first time in years, there is a renewed sense of optimism and confidence along Main Street. Now it’s our job to help make sure this growth continues for years to come.
“Reading the President’s budget, we’re pleased to see proposals to accomplish this economic growth. We’re eager to work together to find common ground, keep our economy moving forward, and not only leapfrog America to the lead of the pack around the world, but more importantly keep us there.
“Today, we’ve accomplished a lot of important things together on behalf our communities. And right now, we have a strong economy that is growing stronger with the help of tax reform.
“We’re looking forward to always continuing to work to fine-tune our code for America. We are excited to move forward with President Trump and especially with you as well, Secretary Mnuchin.
“Again, thank you for being here today. We look forward to your testimony.
“With that, I yield to the distinguished Ranking Member, Mr. Neal, for the purpose of his opening statement.”