WASHINGTON — The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following remarks at a full Committee markup of multiple bills compromising President Biden’s partisan COVID-19 “stimulus” package.
CLICK HERE to watch the full mark-up.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Congress’s top priority right now is to work together to crush this virus and rebuild this economy by helping Main Street businesses survive and helping the jobless get back to work.
“Which is why we joined forces not once, not twice, but five times last year to provide the largest recovery package in American history: $3.55 trillion in emergency Covid relief.
“Despite an economic recovery that widely beat expectations, more work needs to be done. Any further action needs to be focused on destroying this virus and rebuilding our economy in a targeted and efficient way.
“Economists on both sides of the aisle, including President Obama’s economic advisor Larry Summers, agree.
“This nearly $2 trillion ‘stimulus’ package is neither targeted nor a stimulus.
“We repeatedly asked the White House a simple question: how many jobs will this ‘stimulus’ create? Repeatedly, the Biden Administration ducked this important question—refusing to provide an official answer.
“Whatever this rushed, partisan, special interest ‘stimulus’ package does, it comes with no bipartisan discussion, no opportunity for finding common ground, and no credible estimate of jobs.
“Help for Main Street businesses?
“No, and worse, these bills include controversial job-killing mandates that the independent Congressional Budget Office reports will slash 1.4 million jobs over the next years, especially for young and poorly educated workers.
“This one provision will expand the national deficit by $54 billion. Why? To pay for government checks needed to help all the jobless created by this bill.
“Not satisfied at job killing, Democrats include a provision to encourage American businesses to ship jobs and investment overseas – another repeat of the Obama-Biden economic failures.
“I don’t know if the White House knows this, but you’re supposed to be creating jobs, not killing them.
“For businesses looking to hire—and there are over 6.6 million job openings—there’s more bad news.
“We need to help the jobless. But the one-size-fits-all $400 a week federal unemployment check – on top of state unemployment benefits – means over half of America’s workers will be paid more to stay at home than to work.
“How will ‘stay jobless’ incentives get our local economies moving? And why should anyone get paid more by taxpayers to stay home than get back to work?
“There’s a third round of stimulus checks that many experts admit are more a political stimulus than an economic one. Costing nearly half-a-trillion dollars, these checks do little to help Main Street businesses survive or get people back to work.
“For example, for the same amount spent on the ‘stimulus’ checks you could give over 10 million jobless workers a $40,000 voucher for training or to split with a potential employer to fill a full-time job.
“For the same amount of the ‘stimulus’ checks, over 85 percent of workers could work income-tax free for all of 2021.
“Can you imagine people going to work for themselves each day for a year rather than for Washington, expanding their family budgets and spurring Main Street economies?
“We can do more to save jobs in the industries that will take longest to recover.
“In this package, of course, are higher subsidies for the failing Obamacare program. Others with COBRA will get larger health care subsides than they get at work—another incentive to stay home rather than rejoin the workforce.
“There’s a bit of good news. Democrats haven’t yet included their huge tax breaks for millionaires with the SALT repeal, which experts in both parties agree does nothing for the middle class.
“We have serious differences. But I hope we can work together.
“Americans across the country are worrying whether this bitter, divided, partisan beginning to a Democratic Congress and Biden Administration is the new normal.
“Headlines this week read: ‘Inside Bidenworld’s plan to punish the GOP for opposing Covid relief’ and ‘’An easy choice’: Inside Biden’s decision to go it alone with Democrats on coronavirus relief.’
“For a President that ran on uniting and his ability to work across the aisle, this is the beginnings of what may be the most partisan administration in modern history.
“Instead, let’s find common ground on crushing the virus and rebuilding this economy.
“This package isn’t it. And will fail much as the Obama-Biden stimulus failed which led to the worst economic recovery in our lifetime.
“Americans are counting on us not to repeat that historic mistake.
“But that can only happen if Democrats choose to put down their partisan gloves, roll up their sleeves, and work with Republicans.
“Thank you, Chairman Neal.”