This week’s Brady Briefing focuses on taxes, trade, Hurricane Harvey recovery, and Women’s History Month.
By: U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX)
With the help of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, our economy is finally starting to fire on all cylinders. The Department of Labor indicated that in the first two months of 2018, the economy added an average of 276,000 jobs a month-far more than this time last year-and the proportion of people in their prime working years-25 to 54-who are working, is at its highest level since 2008. In addition to strong jobs gains and unemployment nearing its lowest level since the turn of the century, real disposable income just hit its highest peak since 2015, and consumer confidence is nearly at an all-time high. Now is the time to build on the strong economic momentum of the President’s tax cuts and regulatory reforms with sound trade policy.
As the nation’s number one exporting state, Texas is no stranger to the benefits of international trade, specifically trade with Canada and Mexico. I recently returned from leading a congressional delegation to the seventh round of NAFTA trade negotiations in Mexico City. I was encouraged by the progress made in key areas such as agriculture, energy, customs, digital trade and services, that will strengthen our access to these foreign markets for the things we grow, raise and make here in the United States. I am committed to working with the Trump Administration to negotiate trade agreements that help create U.S. jobs and promote economic growth through bold and enforceable obligations on our trading partners.
Also, we must ensure that the steel and aluminum tariffs just announced by the President are narrowly targeted and don’t harm our workers and manufacturers here at home. President Trump has listened to Congress and job-creators all across America by improving the original proposal in order to create a path to allow fairly traded steel and aluminum to be excluded country-by-country and business-by-business. Exempting Canada and Mexico is a good first step, and I urge the White House to go further to narrow these tariffs, so they hit intended targets – and not American workers, businesses, and families.
After the hard fight in Congress to secure additional funding for disaster relief, including our regional infrastructure projects vital to our economic and national security, I met with Colonel Lars Zetterstrom, the Commander of the Galveston District, Army Corps of Engineers for an update on their projects across Texas. We discussed their efforts to restore our ports and inland waterways after Hurricane Harvey. From conducting studies, to dredging and mitigating future storm damage, the Army Corps has much work to do. I am committed to working with them to address our communities’ needs and make sure we are ready to take on any future storm.
President Trump recently proclaimed March 2018 as “Women’s History Month.” This annual proclamation, which started more than three decades ago, celebrates the sacrifices American women have made to make our country great. I am thankful to the courageous women in our communities like Marilyn Bettes, a true “force for good” who was recently honored by the Navasota and Grimes County Chamber of Commerce as this year’s Citizen of the Year. Karen Hale also recently made history in November by becoming the first elected mayor of the new town of Plantersville. And I’m grateful to those women who are helping preserve our history, like Pat Spackey of The Woodlands, whose great-great-great-grandfather Charles Bellinger Stewart is credited with designing our beloved Texas state flag. Our history and shared future prosperity would not be possible without the amazing strength and perseverance of America’s women. Thank you.
Kevin Brady is the Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.