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Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Today the first and oldest committee in Congress – the Committee on Ways and Means – begins consideration of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – historic legislation to bring lasting tax relief to workers, families, and job creators throughout this nation.
“It has been more than three decades since America’s tax code was reformed under President Ronald Reagan. It was the most sweeping overhaul in American history. Today we face a monumental challenge of our own – coming together to fix a tax code that has become just as broken, complex, and unfair as the one President Reagan and Congress overhauled in 1986.
“Our journey to a tax code built for growth of jobs and paychecks that leapfrogs America back into the lead worldwide has been a long one. Our Committee has dedicated a substantial amount of time, energy, and work to the pursuit of one landmark goal – delivering comprehensive tax reform to the American people.
“We’ve held over 40 hearings on nearly every aspect of our nation’s tax laws – the helpful, the harmful, and the horrendous.
“We’ve had three different Chairmen – Dave Camp, Paul Ryan, and now myself.
“And, over this time we’ve engaged in substantive discussion with nearly 60 different Committee members – Republicans and Democrats, men and women, progressives and conservatives.
“All of our efforts have led to this one moment – to this markup of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Today, we stand on the doorstep of delivering the most sweeping tax overhaul in more than 30 years.
“But, make no mistake, this day – and this historic legislation – is not about us. It’s about providing long-overdue relief to American workers, families, and job creators.
“It’s about making America’s economy stronger than ever by delivering more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks across the nation.
“Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a middle-income family of four making $59,000 per year will see a tax cut of nearly $1,200. That means you get to keep more of what you earn to save, spend, or invest however you see fit.
“And, under this legislation, we’re also going to get jobs and paychecks growing again.
“According to independent estimates from the non-partisan Tax Foundation, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will lead to nearly 4 percent higher GDP over the long term.
“It will increase wages by over 3 percent and boost after-tax incomes by more than 4 percent.
“And the bill will create nearly a million full-time American jobs throughout the nation.
“Here’s exactly what this means for the American people. It means middle-income families will see their after-tax incomes go up by an average of roughly $2,600 nationwide. From coast to coast, the era of stagnant wages is over.
“In California, middle-income families will get an estimated boost to their paychecks of more than $2,900.
“For my constituents in Texas, it will be more than $2,500.
“In New York, $2,700.
“This growth of jobs and paychecks comes directly from the bold reforms included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
“Under this bill, we deliver the lowest tax rates in modern history for American businesses of all sizes.
“We take action to stop American jobs from moving overseas and – at the same time – unleash investment right here in our communities.
“And we give American businesses and workers a tax code that will help them to compete and win anywhere in the world – but especially here at home.
“From top to bottom, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the most transformational tax reform legislation since President Reagan reformed the code in 1986.
“But to me, this bill is far more than a collection of pro-growth fiscal policies. This bill is a restoration of basic freedoms that all Americans deserve, but only special interests now get to enjoy under today’s broken tax code.
“This is freedom from a tax code that is so complex for everyday Americans that you have to spend hours – or even days – on filing your taxes. We are seeking a tax code so fair and simple nine out of ten Americans will be able to file their taxes using a simple postcard-style system. Can you imagine a tax code where each of us know what each other’s deductions are – because we have the exact same ones?
“This is liberation from high tax rates that punish hardworking Americans while Washington special interests get a pass.
“And it is permanent relief from having to navigate and rely on a maze of credits and deductions just to reclaim income that was rightfully yours in the first place.
“The bill is more than just fundamental tax reform – it is a fundamental departure from a tax system of special interests, by special interests, and for special interests.
“With this bill, there will be real simplicity, fairness, and freedom – for every American.
“In closing, I want to thank every Member of this Committee – on both sides of the aisle – who contributed to making this day possible. I could not be more proud to be here with you, and I can only hope for a spirit of bipartisanship over the days ahead.
“I also know Members had priorities that were not ultimately included in this legislation. I can assure you this is not the last tax markup our Committee will ever hold. I look forward to working with all of you on additional policies to help families and grow our economy.
“This is our moment to make transformational tax reform a reality for the American people. Let’s seize it in the bold way they deserve.”