The Brady Briefing is a regular feature of USA Daily Times.
By U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX)
With nearly two and a half million miles spent commuting from my home in Texas to Congress, most airline flights are pretty routine for me.
Not the one today. This one is special – the end of a long journey through Congress.
Four years ago, House Republicans unveiled our Better Way Agenda – an ambitious plan to tackle six of the biggest challenges facing our country. As then-Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, I was responsible for crafting a new pro-growth tax code, as well as helping lead both healthcare and welfare reforms to help move people into prosperity.
Tucked away inside the Better Way tax reform proposal was a bold idea – transform the Internal Revenue Service. A new tax code demands a new tax collector, and the time was ripe to redesign the IRS into a fundamentally new agency with a new mission and a new structure.
As Chairman, I intentionally made this a bipartisan effort. It was initially led by Representatives John Lewis (D-GA), Peter Roskam (R-IL), and Lynn Jenkins (R-KA), with Mike Kelly (R-PA) taking over after the Republicans left Congress. Persistence was key, as the IRS reform bill was approved by overwhelming margins three times in the House, but time ran out in the Senate.
This year, under Ways & Means Chairman Richard Neal, we continued our bipartisan work. In much part due to the previous groundwork, it was approved in the House and the Senate.Today, I’m flying to D.C. to stand with President Trump in the Oval Office as he signs the Taxpayer First Act into law.
This bill is the biggest reform of the IRS in two decades. It redesigns it into a taxpayer-first agency, reins in the abuses so that the IRS can’t seize your property without due process, creates an independent dispute settlement process so your case is heard fairly, guarantees taxpayers the same information the agency has during disputes, better protects the privacy of your personal information, and requires the IRS to bring Congress a complete restructuring of the agency in 2020.
I’m particularly proud of this work, of the long journey, and of both parties working together to achieve a win for the American people.
For political reasons, for many months House Democrats refused to acknowledge the humanitarian crisis unfolding on our southern border. Despite numerous attempts from Republicans and the White House to provide increased funding for both humanitarian aid and increased border security, House Democrats stubbornly refused to act.
Last week, after the Senate approved $4.5 billion with overwhelming bipartisan support, Speaker Nancy Pelosi capitulated and her bitterly divided members joined with Republicans to approve funding for the medical aid, food, and shelter migrant families on the border desperately need.
While this is an important first step, more resources are needed to strengthen the border against human trafficking, drugs, and violent criminals using the migrant surge to sneak into the U.S.
This year, our great country will celebrate the 243rd anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. May God continue to bless the United States of America. Happy Fourth of July!
Kevin Brady is the ranking Republican of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. This column is a regular feature of USA Daily Times.