By Congressman Dave Brat (R, VA-7)
Excerpt from “Friends of Dave Brat, Inc.” message dated September 5, 2017
Congress returned to Washington Tuesday, with less than a month to reach some kind of consensus on a bill to keep the government running. With only 12 scheduled legislative days before the current funding expires, members will also debate a handful of other top issues, including needed steps to address the debt ceiling, disaster relief for the Gulf Coast (even as Irma looms), and how to accomplish tax reform.
It is clear the American people want to see Congress enact laws that place the American worker first. Republicans won big in November campaigning on this promise, and It’s time we keep our promises. – Dave Brat, September 5, 2017
That was our very full plate even before yesterday’s announcement by President Trump that his administration is phasing out DACA over a six-month period, ending Obama’s sweeping and unilateral executive action for immigrants brought into the country illegally as children.
I’ll touch briefly on these issues below.
Spending, the annual Debt Ceiling debate—and Harvey
During August recess, I’ve met and talked with constituents all over the district, and heard your concerns. The people in my district made it very clear that they expect Republicans to restore fiscal sanity in Washington. I heard some version of this everywhere I went: “Congress can’t shoot straight. Get in there and get it done.” The American people are just sick of the cronies, and the earmarks, and the pork spending, and the idea that the system is rigged and that the cronies, and lawyers, and lobbyists are getting the money and they’re not.
With that uppermost in my mind, it now appears leadership has decided to attach disaster relief for Harvey with legislation extending the debt limit. While I am strongly in favor of generous disaster relief for the recovery and rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, it is imperative that unrelated pork-barrel spending must be left out. The pet projects that make it into these rushed-through emergency bills are what Americans of all political stripes roundly reject.
I join many other House conservatives who believe that the two measures should move separately. Separating them will then allow any increase in the debt limit to be paired with measures to restrain spending.
Simply put, if Republicans won’t fix our debt problem when we’re in charge, who will? There’s a kind of curious logic that we see too often in Washington—it goes something like this: because things are so bad fiscally, we ought to make it easy and just do a clean debt-ceiling increase!At least, in the past, Republicans wouldn’t even put a clean debt-ceiling increase on a Democratic President’s desk without any reforms or spending discipline attached to it. With Republican majorities in Congress, I will fight for any debt-ceiling hike to include significant spending restraints. As Senator Mike Lee put it the other day:
There is no question about the fact that we can only cry wolf so many times; we can only say so many times that we will govern differently if given a chance. We have to actually do it now.
We have to give the American people some assurance we take this subject seriously, or else it will be nearly impossible to claim that our party is the party of fiscal responsibility.
The Budget, and Tax Reform
We also have a vote coming up on a “budget “resolution—somewhat of a misnomer because the resolution won’t contain a budget. The budget resolution will contain the details of a tax package that leadership has yet to share. Just to be very clear, tax reform is the most important thing we will do in this Congress. It is absolutely crucial that we get rates as low as we can for corporations, our small businesses, and individual taxpayers, “the forgotten man,” who bear the brunt of Washington’s decisions but who have been left out of the decision-making process.
As we have done every year since I’ve been in the House, we will be voting on a continuing resolution that will allow Congress to continue negotiations on the budget and other priorities. Overhauling the tax code has been a major priority for Republicans for years, and we are now in a position to make real and meaningful reform that encourages economic growth and creates more jobs and higher wages. Bottom line, there is no excuse for not getting tax reform on the President’s desk, and I will do everything that I can to make it happen.History makes the case that letting people decide how to invest their money leads to broad-based economic growth. In the 1920s, tax rates were dropped from 70 percent to 25 percent, yet federal revenues rose dramatically. During the 1960s, Democratic President John F. Kennedy saw the power of supply-side tax cuts and generated 5 percent economic growth. And the Reagan tax cuts in the 1980s generated 4 percent economic growth that extended with lasting implications into the 1990s.
Tax reform is simply a common-sense policy Congress must pass. When we get people back into the labor force by lowering corporate and individual tax rates, the happiness and economic prosperity of our country will increase. It’s time to replace favoritism for Washington special interests with fairness. It’s time to replace complexity and uncertainty with simplicity and certainty. It’s time to fix our broken tax code to level the playing field and unleash economic growth that will benefit all Americans.
Trump moves to end DACA
What makes our country great is that we were founded on the rule of law and the balance of power between three branches of government. If we were to allow DACA to continue, the legislative process simply becomes a pretense, The executive branch cannot selectively choose to nullify laws they disagree with, or bypass the lawmaking responsibilities of Congress at whim. This decision will restore and respect the laws of our country and ensure that laws apply equally to everyone.
Our labor markets are still in total disrepair; companies are having difficulty finding skilled workers, and the workforce participation rate is at an all-time low. We need an immigration policy that works for the average American; one that enforces our borders, protects American workers and taxpayers, and establishes strong interior enforcement.
Republicans won in November because they promised to undo key parts of President Obama’s legacy. The American people are fed up with broken promises, and deals that benefit the elites on the backs of the middle class. They haven’t been told the truth for 40 years—and their wages have been flat for that same time. There is no shortcut to doing it right. Our labor markets, welfare policy, and immigration policy are all tied together. Our path forward needs to be constitutional. Obama’s illegal move on DACA was not constitutional. His error needs to be corrected, and Congress needs to finally get it right.