WASHINGTON — The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following remarks on the House Floor during debate of the CASH Act:
Remarks As Prepared for Delivery:
“Since last fall, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Washington Democrats refused to accept a bipartisan COVID relief bill, insisting on more than $3 trillion of absurd policies, from marijuana banking to early release of criminals.
“Months ago, they even rejected a nearly $2 trillion COVID relief proposal by President Trump.
“Many Americans knew right then that Congressional Democrats were sabotaging the economy ahead of the election for political gain.
“During those crucial months, while Speaker Pelosi stalled COVID relief, thousands of Americans died, tens of thousands of small businesses closed, hospitals and nursing homes struggled while millions of Americans were left jobless.
“In the election, Democrats in Congress paid a steep price for their cruel inaction, with voters giving House Republicans nearly two-thirds of the seats needed to take back the majority.
“I thank President Trump for signing bipartisan legislation, that included several separate bills that hitched a ride on the annual funding bill for the government—including COVID relief, a first ever ban on surprise medical bills, and $328 billion in urgent tax relief for families and local businesses.
“I recognize that today’s CASH Act will pass with bipartisan support, and I respect the decision of each member of Congress on their vote.
“For me, I worry that this whopping $437 billion dollars won’t do what’s needed: stimulate the economy or get the jobless back to work.
“At this point in the recovery, the fact is that it’s hard to stimulate a Main Street that’s locked down by local politicians.
“This won’t help local restaurants get their workers permanently back, or hospitality and convention industries rehire their workers for the long term, and it won’t help get energy workers back on the job.
“Will this stimulate our local economies?
“Not a lot. What we know is that much of this extra $1,400 will go to pay down credit card debt, or savings, or make new purchases online at Walmart, Best Buy, or Amazon.
“Rather than merely sending checks to credit card companies, this half-trillion dollars could more than double the number of small and mid-sized businesses getting PPP forgivable loans to hire their workers and stay alive through the recovery.
“It could make sure airline workers have secure jobs for more than just a few months or do more to replenish front-line health care workers.
“We should be focused on the families that are hurting most, none more than the 8 million Americans who lost their job due to COVID.
“Our top priority, in addition to defeating the virus, is to get them back to work.
“So far, Congress has already approved more than $20,800 directly to a family of four with one parent out of work – that’s on top of their state unemployment benefits.
“If you want to do even more for the jobless, this same money could give every unemployed worker from COVID and their employer a $50,000 incentive to return to work.
“With this huge amount of money, you could give the bottom 90 percent of workers in America an income tax free year for 2021 — a full year where you go to work each day for yourself rather than for Washington.
“Can you imagine what a ‘no tax 21’ would do for low and middle income families, workers, and the local economy?
“Or we can simply hold this money back, not hastily spend another half-a-trillion dollars we don’t have while we assess the impact vaccinations are having on consumer confidence, and unlocking of the economy.
“There are a lot of ways to spend money if that’s the goal. But let’s be smart about it. Let’s target assistance to those who need it most.
“The Ways and Means Committee should be the place to explore and analyze these options. Not just have a bill that spends over $400 billion dollars hastily dropped on us at the last minute.
“We can do better to help people get back to work and truly help this recovery.”