Ways and Means Democrats Release Report on the Committee’s Work for the American People in the 116th Congress
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) released a new report detailing the work Committee Democrats undertook in the 116th Congress to expand opportunity for the American people through a fairer tax code, access to more affordable health care, improved retirement savings options, and groundbreaking, pro-worker trade policy. From redesigning the IRS to better serve taxpayers, to ending the practice of surprise medical billing, to providing critical supports for families and workers during the COVID-19 crisis, Ways and Means Democrats led some of Congress’s most consequential work over the past two years.
In 2019, Ways and Means Democrats embraced the new House majority and led the passage of legislation to lower prescription drug prices, protect workers and retirees, support states’ efforts to transform their child welfare programs, and ensure the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement included strengthened worker and environmental protections, rules to promote constituents’ access to life-saving medicines, and new and enhanced enforcement mechanisms. Committee Democrats also conducted robust oversight of the Trump Administration throughout this Congress, fighting against discriminatory regulations, rooting out corruption, and shining light on undue political influence in the federal government.
Confronted with a slew of unexpected and unprecedented challenges in 2020, the Committee contributed central provisions to a series of COVID-19 relief bills. The measures Ways and Means members authored helped unemployed workers stay afloat, families remain in their homes, small businesses keep employees on payroll, and first responders access the protective gear they need to stay safe. In addition to passing legislation and convening hearings, a substantial piece of Ways and Means members’ COVID response work was conducting oversight of the Trump Administration’s implementation of policies related to the pandemic. From monitoring the disbursement of economic impact payments, to fighting to protect seniors in nursing homes, to insisting upon safe conditions for federal workers in agencies under the Committee’s jurisdiction, Ways and Means Democrats kept close watch over the administration’s haphazard handling of the crisis.
While taking action to eradicate the virus and reenergize the economy, Committee Democrats also examined longstanding inequities in America that the COVID-19 crisis exposed and exacerbated. In fact, in the early months of the pandemic, the Ways and Means Committee held the first official virtual committee hearing in the history of the House of Representatives, which examined the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.
Illuminating and tackling inequities in the United States was a focus of the Committee’s throughout the 116th Congress. Ways and Means Democrats led hearings like “Overcoming Racial Disparities and Social Determinants in the Maternal Mortality Crisis,” “How the Tax Code Subsidizes Hate,” “The Economic and Health Consequences of Climate Change,” and “Examining the Impact of the Tax Code on Native American Tribes.” The Committee launched the bipartisan Rural and Underserved Communities Health Task Force to bring more focus and attention to the challenges of delivering health care in these areas and to explore policy options that could improve outcomes and care.
After working up until the very last moments of the 116th Congress to support Americans in need, Chairman Neal and Ways and Means Democrats stand ready to continue leading congressional efforts to protect people’s health, create jobs, and dig our economy out of the COVID recession in the 117th Congress. In close coordination with the Biden Administration’s new leadership, the Committee will undoubtedly play a key role in helping workers and families recover from this perilous time in the nation’s history.
Read Committee Democrats’ full report HERE.