WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) today will deliver a speech at President Ronald Reagan’s Santa Barbara, California, ranch about how tax reform will improve the lives of all Americans.
CLICK HERE or the image above to watch today’s event.
Full remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Good afternoon. I’m Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas. I serve as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and today I’m joined by several of my fellow tax reformers on the Committee, which is the chief tax writing body in Congress.
“We are guests of the Young America’s Foundation, proud preservers of President Reagan’s ranch and his conservative principles.
“Together with President Trump and leaders in the House and Senate, we are moving forward now in crafting bold legislation to reform our nation’s tax code in 2017 – legislation that will reduce taxes for all Americans and grow jobs and paychecks nationwide.
“We’re here at President Reagan’s beautiful ranch today because it’s the anniversary of an especially historic day for tax reform.
“And we’re speaking with you from President Reagan’s ‘Tax Cut Table’ – a replica of the table where he signed important tax relief legislation that helped pave the way for comprehensive tax reform a generation ago.
“So whether you’re joining us here at the ranch or watching online from your home, your office, or from somewhere else – thank you for being a part of this moment.
“Thirty-one years ago today, a conference committee of 10 Members of Congress – five tax-writers from the House and five from the Senate – reached agreement on the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code in American history.
“President Reagan was here at the ranch that day. In a statement, he called the agreement a ‘triumph for the American people.’ And just two months later, he sat on the South Lawn of the White House and signed that bill into law.
“There on the South Lawn, President Reagan said:
“‘The journey’s been long, and many said we’d never make it. But, as usual, the pessimists left one thing out of their calculations: the American people. They haven’t made this the freest country and the mightiest economic force on this planet by shrinking from challenges. They never gave up.’
“As we stand here 31 years later, we face a monumental challenge of our own – coming together to fix a U.S. tax code that has become just as broken as the one President Reagan and Congress overhauled in the 1980s.
“In fact, when you look at today’s code you can’t even recognize the core principles that made the ’86 overhaul such a triumph.
“The Reagan tax reform was all about helping the American people – workers, middle-class families, and Main Street job creators. And it was about growing American jobs, paychecks, and our entire economy.
“It focused on fairness – closing loopholes for Washington special interests so that all Americans could keep more of their hard-earned paychecks.
“It focused on simplicity and certainty – streamlining the code so it was easier to file your taxes.
“And, most of all, it focused on American competitiveness and economic growth – delivering one of the most modern and pro-growth tax systems the world had ever seen. A tax system that provided our businesses and our workers with the greatest opportunity to compete and win.
“This was a tax code built for excellence because it was built to help all Americans realize their own American dream – whatever that might be.
“Just like my constituents in Texas and so many Americans throughout the nation, I think President Reagan would be pretty disappointed in what our tax code has become today.
“Fairness has been replaced by outright favoritism for Washington special interests.
“Simplicity and certainty have been supplanted by complexity and incredible frustrations for the American people.
“And American competitiveness has become a casualty of Washington’s inaction.
“Over the past 31 years, our international competitors have taken major strides to improve their tax systems for their businesses and workers. Inspired by President Reagan’s tax reform, they lowered rates for families and job creators. Many of them even one-upped us by dramatically simplifying their international tax rules. They made it easier for their businesses to compete globally and create jobs locally. In short, they have left America in their dust.
“The ’86 tax reform changed the game internationally – and our competitors responded by picking up the ball and running with it.
“How has Washington responded over these past decades? By sitting on the sidelines and reverting back to bad old habits.
“Today Americans are watching good-paying jobs, manufacturing plants, and our research and development move overseas to countries with more competitive tax systems.
“It begs the question: Why are we standing idly by while this happens? When did this nation start shrinking from challenges? At what point did we give up on the principles of fairness, simplicity, free enterprise, and – most of all – faith in each American’s individual talents?
“And when did we decide that it was better to give in to Washington special interests at the expense of all the hardworking Americans who truly contribute to our economy?
“I don’t accept that. Our families and Main Street businesses don’t accept it. Today, on this historic day, it’s time to come together and show the world that this nation will not accept it any longer.
“For the first time in over three decades we have a President, a House, and a Senate who are all committed to overhauling this broken tax code and unleashing the growth of jobs and paychecks nationwide. And whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, if you’re serious about getting real pro-growth tax reform done for the American people this year, we are serious about working with you.
“Just like in 1986, this is not going to be easy. Legislatively, tax reform is the challenge of a generation for America. There’s already a hashtag for it on Twitter – #TRIH: tax reform is hard.
“To be successful in 2017, we have to remember what we are fighting against. And more importantly, what we are fighting for.
“What we are fighting against is this monster of a tax code. And right now – the tax code is winning. In fact, it’s on a 31-year winning streak.
“Today’s tax code has tripled in length since the 1986 tax reform. It’s once again full of unfair carve-outs and loopholes. And it’s backed by powerful interests who will fight tooth and nail to preserve their sweetheart deals – even if that means taking down tax reform altogether and staying with this broken system.
“We cannot let the status quo win. Because what we are fighting for is too important. We are fighting for you, who President Reagan called the most important special interest of all – the American people.
“We are fighting for those same fundamental principles Ronald Reagan did – the fairness, simplicity, and certainty you deserve.
“We are fighting for the competitiveness and excellence we are capable of.
“And we are fighting for the better, brighter future that you want for your children – just like the future my wife and I want for our two sons.
“When this fight gets tough – when Washington special interests are beating down our doors trying to preserve the status quo – we won’t give up. We can’t give up because we know that you, the American people, are counting on us to persevere. With your support, we will.
“Today we commit to write a new chapter in this great American story. We commit to deliver a new tax code that is written for a new era of American excellence.
“With your help, America, we can close the special-interest loopholes. We can lower tax rates for American families and job creators. We can vault America from nearly dead last among our global competitors back into the lead pack with one of the most pro-growth, pro-jobs tax codes on the planet.
“This is our challenge. Together – working with President Trump, with leaders in the House and Senate, and with you, the American people – we will rise to this challenge just as our nation has risen to and prevailed over so many great challenges.
“I believe that with all my heart. Because, like President Reagan, I believe there is no limit to what this nation can achieve when we put our faith in God, in each other, and in the boundless potential of American ingenuity.
“2017 is our year to make history. And, together, we will.”