Chairman Neal Opening Statement at Members’ Day Hearing
(As prepared for delivery)
Today, we will hear from more than 20 members on a broad range of topics within the Committee’s jurisdiction. From taxes to Social Security and retirement security; to trade, health care, and social services – the issues that the Ways and Means Committee addresses have a significant impact on the lives of all Americans.
Over the last year, this Committee has been at the center of almost every major piece of legislation to address the health and economic crisis caused by the global coronavirus pandemic. And as we move from stopping the crisis to building our economy back better, this Committee will continue to be called upon to lead in many areas.
As we turn our legislative focus on recovery efforts, I am particularly interested in continuing a long-running and productive conversation about our nation’s infrastructure challenges and how Congress can address them.
There is widespread bipartisan agreement that we are long overdue for infrastructure week. Unfortunately, disasters like a catastrophic power failure in Texas, a drinking water crisis in Michigan or Mississippi, or a bridge collapse in Minnesota have only underscored the urgency.
And now, at the hands of the pandemic, we are more aware of the fact that to reignite our economy and compete internationally, we must also update our definition of infrastructure.
Our roads, bridges, transit, water systems, and electrical grids need updating, but so do the social supports that enable workers to fully contribute to the economy. Simply put, the road underneath you may get you to work, but it is the access to affordable child care that gets them through the day.
Working closely with President Biden, I believe we can put our country on course to build back better by unlocking our tax code to work better for more Americans, investing in the modern and sustainable infrastructure system we need, all while creating millions of good-paying jobs and laying the groundwork for a future with net-zero emissions.
The Ways and Means Committee will play a critical role in this process and so I am particularly interested to hear from members today.
In the Ways and Means Committee, we don’t just debate the issues – we find real solutions to the challenges that our constituents face. I think there is room to do a lot of good work here and I look forward to hearing my colleagues’ ideas today on how we can improve Americans’ lives and strengthen our nation’s future.
And with that I will recognize the Ranking Member, Mr. Brady, for an opening statement.