This week, the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), held a hearing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to review President Trump’s budget proposals for fiscal year 2019. At Thursday’s hearing, Committee Members and Secretary Mnuchin discussed ways to build on the success of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in order to continue strengthening our economy as well as grow jobs and paychecks.
As Chairman Brady said at the start of the hearing:
“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.”
Chairman Brady emphasized:
“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. …to ensure that America’s economy continues to grow.”
Secretary Mnuchin told the Committee in his opening testimony:
“Since the law was enacted, over 350 companies have announced bonuses, wage increases, higher 401(k) matches, and new hiring, benefiting more than 4 million employees. We are seeing the fastest wage growth since 2009 at 2.9%. This is a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of American families. Our reforms are making America’s companies competitive again, which is having a demonstrable effect on the economic success of the nation.”
In regard to the President’s budget proposals, the Secretary added:
“The Fiscal Year 2019 Budget reflects last year’s tax reform legislation, which reduces the burden on taxpayers and sets the country up for long-term growth. The policies in this budget will drive down spending and grow the economy, which are both critical to putting the nation on a sound fiscal path over the long term and reducing the budget deficit as a share of GDP.”
Republican Members discussed shared priorities with Secretary Mnuchin and addressed ways lawmakers and the Administration can work together to usher in a new era of American prosperity.
IMPLEMENTING AMERICA’S NEW TAX LAW
With a new tax code built for growth, Members made clear that it is vital that Congress and the Administration, together, make sure this law works on behalf of all Americans:
Letting families keep more of their money:
“One of the key pillars of tax reform was letting Americans keep more of their hard-earned dollars. Once tax reform was enacted, the Administration acted quickly to update the withholding tables to reflect the new tax code, which means this month over 90% of Americans will see a reduction in their taxes and bigger paychecks and take-home pay.”
Helping job creators compete and win:
Rep. George Holding (R-NC):
“I … want to … touch on the importance of the change to a territorial system that we accomplished in tax reform. We finally leveled the playing field for companies around the globe. I now look forward to continuing to work on that to ensure its implementation to increase competitiveness.”
Stopping fraud and abuse in the tax system:
Rep. Diane Black (R-TN):
“Two areas that have been talked a lot about in this Committee … Child Tax Credits … and tuition-related tax expenses, that required Social Security numbers for students. And we all agree that we want to help those who really need the help.
“There is a lot of fraud and abuse out there. …I want to say thank you for looking at this, because OMB actually put out a statement that said, from the increased efforts from all forms of these tax credits, and the oversight and enforcements, it could raise $43.8 billion over the next decade, which is a lot of money that we could use to help people that really deserve it and need it rather than those who are trying to go over beyond the system.”
CONTINUING TO GROW OUR ECONOMY
Members recognized that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was built for the long term, and stressed the importance of making sure America’s economy continues to thrive under this new tax code:
Growth of jobs, paychecks, and investments:
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN):
“It’s really not surprising to see the other economic indicators that are trending in a really positive direction. For example, the Bureau of Economic Analysis now reports that private sector investment was up actually 8.8% in the last quarter of 2017, compared to the growth of less than 1% in the first quarter of 2017.
“Mr. Secretary, there is no doubt in my mind that businesses large and small were making these investments in large part in anticipation of tax reform passing and getting it across the finish line. Those investments now are resulting in a growing, competitive economy. And when a business makes an equipment investment, it typically means they are also going to be hiring more people and they’re going to be increasing productivity. And this is a good indicator of wage growth yet to come. These are all positive economic impacts that are helping taxpayers across the country and they’re helping middle-income families.”
Paying down the national debt:
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Chair of the Tax Policy Subcommittee:
“Taking a look at the past 10 years, we’ve had little or no growth. The slowest growth in 50 years. We’ve run up a $10 trillion debt in those 10 years roughly – plenty of blame to go around. But I had a chance to speak in front of the Tax Foundation last week … they are expecting $5 trillion in growth because of the new tax law.”
Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH):
“We do have to worry about the debt crisis. And one thing we have to do is we have to get growth. We’re getting that … and we also have to get spending down. … I hope we can work together to come up with solutions so that our children and grandchildren don’t have to deal with this debt crisis. But again, the tax cut will grow our economy and allow us to grow a revenue base that will help. We cannot continue down a stagnant path that we’ve had the last eight years.”
Ways and Means Republicans look forward to working with the Treasury Department and the Administration to ensure we continue to see more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the hearing.