WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at a hearing focused on “Reaching America’s Potential: Delivering Growth and Opportunity for All Americans.”
“Thank you all for joining us today.
“We’re holding this hearing today because we want the American people to clearly understand that members of this committee are focused on their number one concern – the economy.
“This is what we hear about at home – and this is what we will take action on in Washington.
“For over seven years, Americans have watched in disappointment as the Obama White House has settled for slow growth.
“Time and time again, the President has refused to support bipartisan, common sense policies that could improve the lives of millions of people across the country.
“Today – in February of 2016 – we remain in the middle of the worst recovery in the post-war era.
“The fact is that if the speed of this recovery simply matched the post-1973 average, GDP per person would be 7.5 percent — a full $4,200 per person – higher than it is today. That’s about $17,000 for a family of four.
“While the economists in the room love to hear these numbers and percentages, I’ll take a moment to talk about what this means to the rest of us.
“With growth well below historic norms, productivity growth is near zero and wage growth is flat.
“Median household incomes are down. That’s no surprise to most Americans.
“Forty-six million Americans are living in poverty, including millions in the prime of their lives who are sitting on the sidelines without work.
“The American people deserve better.
“And Washington doesn’t have any more time to waste.
“I could spend the next hour discussing the failed policies of the past – but I won’t.
“The American people need us to focus on what we can do today to make their tomorrow better.
“As Members of the Ways and Means Committee, we have a responsibility to deliver real leadership. We are committed to moving forward with a positive, pro-growth agenda for America.
“In the weeks and months ahead, we will take action on:
- Tax reforms to boost investment and job creation;
- Welfare reforms to help more people join the workforce and achieve the American dream.
- Health reforms to truly make health care more affordable and accessible;
- Trade expansion to open more foreign markets to American goods and services;
- Entitlement reforms to strengthen Medicare and Social Security for the long haul and;
- Government reforms to boost efficiency and effectiveness instead of stifling jobs and higher wages.
“Each of these steps will go a long way towards delivering the growth and opportunity all Americans need and expect.
“Today, we’re going to hear from a range of respected economic advisors about specific actions that we can take to ensure America reaches its full potential.
“I’m honored to welcome:
- Doug Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum;
- Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute;
- Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and
- Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation.
“You are all leaders in your field and you all understand that we can’t accept the slow-growth status quo.
“So what’s next?
“We have to take action to grow our economy.
“We have to take action to make it easier for the private sector and main street to create jobs.
“We have to take action to help Americans keep more of their hard earned paychecks.
“Simply put, we have to take action.
“Thank you again for joining us.”