Brady Opening Statement at Full Committee Markup of Tax Legislation
The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at a Full Committee Markup of Tax Legislation
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
"Thank you, Chairman Neal.
"Despite our strong differences on issues like Medicare for All, weaponizing the tax code for political purposes, and raising payroll taxes on American workers, we have worked hard to find common ground on reforming the IRS, modernizing the tax code to encourage more savings, and taking the first step toward greater transparency on drug prices in Medicare.
"Unfortunately, we find ourselves today debating legislation that was sprung on Congress sight unseen merely two days ago – without any Republican input.
"That is incredibly discouraging.
"And on top of that, many of these bills double down on some of Washington’s worst taxing habits, promoting fiscally irresponsible, temporary, and slow-growth tax policies that could add over a half a trillion dollars to the national debt.
"Just two years after our new tax code was implemented, the trajectory of America’s economy has been changed for the better.
"After years of stagnation, workers now have bigger paychecks and first-say over more of their money.
"This is a good thing that all lawmakers should be encouraged by – and take as a sign that we need to continue working to make our tax code even more competitive.
"Which is why Republicans made a commitment to change the culture in Washington, from one that waits an entire generation to fix a broken tax code, to one that keeps our code ahead of the pack.
"To be the best in the world, our tax code needs to promote growth and permanence.
"Changing the culture in Washington to ensure our tax code embodies these characteristics means not doing temporary tax policy whenever possible.
"Temporary tax policies typically only muddy up our tax code in order to appease special interest.
"Certainty is hard to achieve when a policy is set to expire months later – and one of the bills being discussed today does absolutely nothing to promote long-term stability and growth.
"Additionally, for some of the proposed provisions, our new tax code totally supersedes them.
"Republicans care about stability, permanence, and sustained economic growth. Which is why last year we passed legislation to lock-in the middle class and small business tax cuts from our reforms.
"Which—despite complaining about the need for permanency—not a single Democrat on this Committee voted for permanent tax relief for our low- and middle-class workers and small businesses.
"We also set in motion a method for finding a permanent path forward on these temporary tax policies.
"We asked stakeholders to come to the table and advocate why a certain provision needed to be made permanent, or how we could work to phase it out.
"That is how we should be treating these temporary policies. But instead we find ourselves debating legislation that does the opposite.
"For a House majority that campaigned on not doing business as usual, as a party that was supposedly 'for the people' and fiscally responsible, all those promises are what we suspected – empty promises.
"This bill, a $600 billion spending spree stuffed with dozens of carveouts hand-picked by K Street, exemplifies the worst aspects of what our old tax code notoriously endorsed.
"That is not the way to do business. It’s what the American people hate about Washington, and is a poor reflection of what this new Democrat majority stands for.
"The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation scores these bills at $107 billion over the course of two years.
"And the true cost, when you look past the Democrats budget gimmicks, is approximately $600 billion over the next decade.
"Let me repeat that again. $600 billion added to the national debt.
"We all suspected Democrats’ recent tune of being concerned about debts and deficits was just an excuse to keep people’s money in Washington’s pockets instead of their pockets.
"Now America knows it was all a scam.
"Democrats were glad to tout fiscal discipline when we modernized our tax code by putting American workers in control of their paychecks.
"But now they want to spend $600 billion on hand outs, stuffing our tax code with temporary, unnecessary policies that will likely be extended year-to-year for as far as the Washington establishment can.
"Mr. Chairman, Republicans want to work together with Democrats to make our tax code better each and every year.
"We are committed to working together to grow our economy, to help working parents get ahead, and to ensure America remains the best place in the world to start and grow a business.
"And we are willing to engage on developing bipartisan solutions to the temporary tax provisions that come to town each year.
"It’s unfortunate that we are being forced to debate legislation today that misses the mark on all of those goals.
"Republicans look forward to debating these bills today, and we fully intend to offer amendments that we think need to be adopted in order to make today’s partisan proposals work.
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman."