Committee on Ways and Means

Paul Ryan

Chairman Boustany Announces Hearing on Ideas to Improve Welfare Programs to Help More Families Find Work and Escape Poverty

2015/04/30

Today, Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany (R-LA) announced that the subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “Next Steps for Welfare Reform: Ideas to Improve Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to Help More Families Find Work and Escape Poverty.” The hearing will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, in room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building.

Hearing Advisory

Public Submissions For Record
Please click here to submit a statement or letter for the record.
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Ryan Delivers Weekly Republican Address

2015/04/25

WASHINGTON —  In this week's Republican Address, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) discusses advancing America's trade agenda with more accountability and transparency by establishing trade promotion authority. The address concludes a busy week, during which the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act was successfully passed by the committee and sent to the full House of Representatives.

The full text of the Chairman's address is available below. The video is available to view and download on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

"Hi . . . I'm Paul Ryan . . . chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

"This week, our committee passed a bill that we are pretty excited about. It would establish what we call TPA—or 'trade promotion authority.' And soon that bill will go before Congress.

"I think this is one of the most important things Congress can do for the country right now. So, here's the issue.

"Right now, the United States is negotiating two historic trade agreements—one with our friends on the Pacific Rim and another with our friends in Europe. We need these trade agreements so we can lay down fair and strong rules that tear down trade barriers and open markets to American products.

"Ninety six percent of the world's consumers—they don't live in the United States; they live in other countries. We have to make more things in America and sell them overseas, so we can create more jobs here at home. And when we do, America's workers will benefit. Manufacturing jobs that rely on trade pay 16 percent more on average.

"But today, the deck is stacked against our workers in far too many places. We let other countries sell their products over here. But they've put up trade barriers that make it hard to sell our products over there.

"These trade agreements will level the playing field for America's workers. But to complete them, we need TPA.

"So what is it?

"TPA is a process for getting the most effective trade agreements possible—and holding the administration accountable all along the way.

"TPA puts Congress in the driver's seat—because it lets Congress set the agenda. We say to the administration three things. First, here are your negotiating objectives—150 of them. Tear down barriers to our products. Beef up protections for our intellectual property. Get rid of kickbacks for foreign-government firms.

"Second, here are your transparency requirements. To name a few: You've got to let any member of Congress read the negotiating offers at any time. You even have to allow any member to attend the negotiating rounds. And 60 days before the administration even agrees to any agreement, you've got to publish the full text so the American people can read it for themselves.

"And third, Congress gets the final say. If you meet all the requirements, we'll give the agreement an up-or-down vote—without amendment. This will give our trading partners the confidence they need to make their best offers.

"But if the administration doesn't do all we've said, we can cancel the vote, change it, or stop it completely. In short, TPA will hold the administration accountable and get us the highest quality agreements possible.

"The stakes are high—because in the global economy, if you're not moving forward, you're falling behind. China is negotiating trade deals all over the world, and they're trying to rig the rules in their favor. So it all comes down to this question: Is China going to write the rules of the global economy, or are we?

"Are we going to rise to the occasion and provide American leadership in the world?

"This is our challenge—and our opportunity. We have a chance here to write the rules on our terms. . . to raise other countries to our standards . . . to create more opportunity for our people.

"All across the country, people are coming together to support TPA: farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, Democrats, Republicans. Theyknow the stakes. They know what this means for our country. And Congress should not let them down.

"We're the only country that can do this. We're the only country that can stand up for free enterprise and the rule of law. This is our moment. It's our chance to lead . . . to restore American leadership in the world.

"We've still got a lot of work to do. But it all begins with TPA and this vote. Thank you."

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Ways and Means Advances Trade Priorities and Accountability Act

2015/04/23

WASHINGTON — Today, the House Ways and Means Committee favorably voted to send important trade legislation, the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act, to the full House of Representatives. The legislation passed the Committee on a 25-13 vote, with two Democrats joining all Committee Republicans in support. Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement. 

"Today we took an important step toward a healthier economy and stronger American leadership in the world. This bill will help us achieve the best trade agreements for American workers and job creators. It will allow the United States—instead of China—to write the rules of the economy. And it will hold the president accountable to Congress. TPA puts Congress in the driver's seat of trade negotiations and provides the transparency that Americans deserve. I want to thank all the members of the Committee who helped us get here, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to pass this bill into law soon."

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Markup of: H.R. 1891, “A bill to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the Generalized System of Preferences, the preferential duty treatment program for Haiti, and for other purposes,”; H.R. 1890, “The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015,”; H.R. 1892, “A bill to extend the trade adjustment assistance program, and for other purposes,”; H.R. 1907, “A bill to reauthorize trade facilitation and trade enforcement functions and activities, and for other purposes.”

2015/04/23

Chairman Ryan has scheduled a Meeting of the Committee on Ways and Means to be held in 1100 Longworth House Office Building on Thursday, April 23, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. 

Markup of:
  • H.R. 1891, “A bill to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the Generalized System of Preferences, the preferential duty treatment program for Haiti, and for other purposes.”
  • H.R. 1890, “The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015.”
  • H.R. 1892, “A bill to extend the trade adjustment assistance program, and for other purposes.”
  • H.R. 1907, “A bill to reauthorize trade facilitation and trade enforcement functions and activities, and for other purposes.”

Additional Markup Materials:

H.R. 1891
H.R. 1890
H.R. 1892
H.R. 1907
H.R. 1891 Section-by-Section
H.R. 1890 Section-by-Section
H.R. 1892 Section-by-Section
H.R. 1907 Section-by-Section
Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 1892
Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 1907
WMC Description of Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 1892
JCT Description of Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 1892
WMC Description of Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 1907


Markup Results:

H.R. 1891

Final Passage

H.R. 1891 was ordered favorably report to the House of Representatives by voice vote (with a quorum being present). 

H.R. 1890

-Aamendment by Rangel to H.R. 1890, which would modify the scope of the ITC’s report on the effect of a trade agreement.
-The vote on the amendment by Rangel to H.R. 1890, which would modify the scope of the ITC’s report on the effect of a trade agreement, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 23 nays to 15 yeas (with a quorum being present).
 
-Amendment by Mr. Becerra to H.R. 1890, which requires trade agreements to include an enforceable currency manipulation provision in order for a trade agreement to be considered under TPA procedures.
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. Becerra to H.R. 1890, which requires trade agreements to include an enforceable currency manipulation provision in order for a trade agreement to be considered under TPA procedures, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 24 nays to 14 yeas (with a quorum being present).

-Amendment by Mr. Neal and Mr. Larson to H.R. 1890, which would amend the currency negotiating objective to require it be subject to the same dispute settlement procedures as other provisions in the trade agreement.
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. Neal and Mr. Larson to H.R. 1890, which would amend the currency negotiating objective to require it be subject to the same dispute settlement procedures as other provisions in the trade agreement, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 24 nays to 14 yeas (with a quorum being present).

-Amendment by Mr. Lewis to H.R. 1890, which would allow human rights legislation to be included in trade agreement implementing bills and would require trade agreements to satisfy certain labor and human rights standards for TPA procedures to apply to that trade agreement.
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. Lewis to H.R. 1890, which would allow human rights legislation to be included in trade agreement implementing bills and would require trade agreements to satisfy certain labor and human rights standards for TPA procedures to apply to that trade agreement, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 23 nays to 15 yeas (with a quorum being present). 

-Amendment by Mr. Doggett to H.R. 1890, which would require trade agreements to include a number of changes to the investment chapter in order for TPA procedures to apply.
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. Doggett to H.R. 1890, which would require trade agreements to include a number of changes to the investment chapter in order for TPA procedures to apply, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 25 nays to 13 yeas (with a quorum being present).

-Amendment by Mr. Becerra to H.R. 1890, which would exempt Medicare and Medicaid from ISDS disputes.
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. Becerra to H.R. 1890, which would exempt Medicare and Medicaid from ISDS disputes, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 25 nays to 13 yeas (with a quorum being present).

-Amendment by Mr. Thompson to H.R. 1890, which would amend the foreign investment negotiating objective.
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. Thompson to H.R. 1890, which would amend the foreign investment negotiating objective, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 25 nays to 13 yeas (with a quorum being present). 

-Amendment by Mr. Doggett to H.R. 1890, which would among other things, require USTR to share negotiating texts with staff with appropriate security clearances.
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. Doggett to H.R. 1890, which would among other things, require USTR to share negotiating texts with staff with appropriate security clearances, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 22 nays to 15 yeas (with a quorum being present).

-Amendment by Mr. Doggett to H.R. 1890, which would require a trade agreement to include enforceable commitments to enforce seven multilateral environmental agreements in order for TPA procedures to apply.
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. Doggett to H.R. 1890, which would require a trade agreement to include enforceable commitments to enforce seven multilateral environmental agreements in order for TPA procedures to apply, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 22 nays to 15 yeas (with a quorum being present).

-Amendment by Mr. Thompson to H.R. 1890, which would require trade agreements to recognize issues related to climate change.
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. Thompson to H.R. 1890, which would require trade agreements to recognize issues related to climate change, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 22 nays to 15 yeas (with a quorum being present).

-Amendment by Mr. McDermott to H.R. 1890, which would shorten the length of time that TPA would apply to trade agreements, changing the end date to January 2017.
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. McDermott to H.R. 1890, which would shorten the length of time that TPA would apply to trade agreements, changing the end date to January 2017, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 25 nays to 13 yeas (with a quorum being present).

-Amendment by Mr. Pascrell to H.R. 1890, which would prohibit trade agreements that permit the import of food, feed, or food ingredients or products that do not meet or exceed U.S. standards with respect to food safety, pesticides, inspections, packaging, and labeling into the United States from a country that is a party to the trade agreement.
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. Pascrell to H.R. 1890, which would prohibit trade agreements that permit the import of food, feed, or food ingredients or products that do not meet or exceed U.S. standards with respect to food safety, pesticides, inspections, packaging, and labeling into the United States from a country that is a party to the trade agreement, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 22 nays to 15 yeas (with a quorum being present).

-Amendment by Mr. Pascrell to H.R. 1890, which would prohibit trade agreements that weaken, undermine, or necessitate the waiver of the Buy American Act
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. Pascrell to H.R. 1890, which would prohibit trade agreements that weaken, undermine, or necessitate the waiver of the Buy American Act, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 22 nays to 14 yeas (with a quorum being present).

-Amendment by Mr. Pascrell to H.R. 1890, which would require a trade agreement to contain strict rules of origin and a specific level of automotive product rules of origin, in order for TPA procedures to apply.
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. Pascrell to H.R. 1890, which would require a trade agreement to contain strict rules of origin and a specific level of automotive product rules of origin, in order for TPA procedures to apply, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 22 nays to 15 yeas (with a quorum being present).

-Amendment by Pascrell to H.R. 1890, which expresses the sense of Congress that China should not join the Trans-Pacific Partnership until both chambers of Congress certifies that the country has not intervened in its exchange rate for a year and has fully transitioned to a market economy.
-The vote on the amendment by Pascrell to H.R. 1890, which expresses the sense of Congress that China should not join the Trans-Pacific Partnership until both chambers of Congress certifies that the country has not intervened in its exchange rate for a year and has fully transitioned to a market economy, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 2 nays to 13 yeas (with a quorum being present).

-Amendment by Ms. Sanchez to H.R. 1890, which would restrict TPA procedures from being applies to trade agreements with any party that has a penal case punishing the LGBT community.
-The vote on the amendment by Ms. Sanchez to H.R. 1890, which would restrict TPA procedures from being applies to trade agreements with any party that has a penal case punishing the LGBT community, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 22 nays to 15 yeas (with a quorum being present).

-Amendment by Mr. Ryan to H.R. 1890, which would address boycotts, divestments, and sanctions against Israel and move the overall negotiating objective on capacity building, rule of law, and the role of internationally recognized human rights to a principal negotiating objective.
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. Ryan to H.R. 1890, which would address boycotts, divestments, and sanctions against Israel and move the overall negotiating objective on capacity building, rule of law, and the role of internationally recognized human rights to a principal negotiating objective, was agreed to by voice vote (with a quorum being present).

Final Passage

-The bill H.R. 1890 was ordered favorably reported as amended to the House of Representatives by a roll call vote of 25 yeas to 13 nays (with a quorum being present).


H.R. 1892

-The vote on the motion by Mr. Tiberi to table Mr. Crowley’s motion to appeal the ruling of the Chair was agreed to by a roll call vote of 23 yeas to 13 nays (with a quorum being present).

-Amendment by Mr. McDermott to H.R. 1892, which would increase funding for the “TAA for Firms” program from $16 million to $50 million
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. McDermott to H.R. 1892, which would increase funding for the “TAA for Firms” program from $16 million to $50 million, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 23 nays to 13 yeas (with a quorum being present).

Final Passage

H.R. 1892 was ordered reported as amended without recommendation to the House of Representatives by voice vote (with a quorum being present).


H.R. 1907

-Amendment by Mr. Boustany to H.R. 1907, which would ensure that post-liquidation interest received from payments collected under a customs bond is available, where eligible, for the distribution to domestic producers in accordance with CDSOA.  This amendment prohibits Customs from transferring to the General Treasury any payment received under a bond so that it is available to be distributed to domestic producers, where applicable
-The vote on the amendment by Mr. Boustany to H.R. 1907, which would ensure that post-liquidation interest received from payments collected under a customs bond is available, where eligible, for the distribution to domestic producers in accordance with CDSOA.  This amendment prohibits Customs from transferring to the General Treasury any payment received under a bond so that it is available to be distributed to domestic producers, where applicable, was agreed to by voice vote (with a quorum being present). 

Final Passage

-H.R. 1907 was ordered favorably report as amended to the House of Representatives by voice vote (with a quorum being present). 


 

 

 


 




















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Chairman Boustany Announces Hearing on Ideas to Improve Welfare Programs to Help More Families Find Work and Escape Poverty

2015/04/23

Today, Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany (R-LA) announced that the subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “Next Steps for Welfare Reform: Ideas to Improve Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to Help More Families Find Work and Escape Poverty.” The hearing will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, in room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building.

In view of the limited time available, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. Witnesses will include experts who administer the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program or who provide support to states operating the program. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the committee for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.

In announcing the hearing, Chairman Boustany stated:

“Welfare reforms in the 1990s helped millions of low-income parents leave welfare for work. Not only did welfare caseloads drop by more than half as a result, but the share of families with children who were living in poverty fell significantly as well. Despite this progress, recent evidence suggests states may not be helping as many welfare recipients find work or prepare for work as they have in the past. In addition, Congress hasn’t undertaken a full assessment of the program since 2006. It’s time for Congress to review this program and develop ways to help more low-income families find work and escape poverty.”

BACKGROUND:

The TANF program is designed to end the dependence of needy families on government benefits by promoting work, marriage, and personal responsibility. Unlike its predecessor, the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, which was primarily a cash welfare program for low-income families with children, the 1996 welfare reform law created TANF to fund a variety of services to help low-income parents get jobs and become self-sufficient. States are required to engage 50 percent of adults in TANF families in work activities such as employment, on-the-job training, job search, and vocational education.

As a result of these and other reforms, in the years following the 1996 law’s passage, welfare caseloads declined significantly, employment among low-income families increased, and poverty declined. However, recent evidence suggests states are not engaging many adults receiving TANF in services designed to help them get jobs and move up the economic ladder. In recent years, states have reported zero hours of work—or participation in activities leading to work—for over half of the adults receiving TANF assistance each month. Recent reports have highlighted ways states have used loopholes in current law to sharply reduce the share of adults they must engage in work or work activities.

FOCUS OF THE HEARING:

This hearing will focus on how states assist welfare recipients today, ways to increase state efforts to engage more recipients in work and activities leading to work, and how these efforts can help these individuals become self-sufficient, escape poverty, and move up the economic ladder.

DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS:

Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, http://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.” Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Please click here to submit a statement or letter for the record.” Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information. Attach your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by May 14, 2015. Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721 or (202) 225-3625.

FORMATTING REQUIREMENTS:

The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record. As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee. The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines. Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below. Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

  1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.
  2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased. All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
  3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons, and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears. A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.

The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested). Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.

Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available online at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.

 


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Tiberi Introduces Strong Customs Enforcement Legislation

2015/04/23

WASHINGTON — Today, Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH), along with co-sponsors Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), announced the introduction of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 1907). Among its provisions, the legislation includes Rep. Boustany's PROTECT Act.

Upon its introduction, Chairman Tiberi said:

“I am pleased to introduce legislation that will modernize, strengthen and streamline trade enforcement and facilitation. The bill would promote legitimate trade to create better jobs and strengthen the U.S. economy. In order to increase American exports and ensure that other countries are playing by the same rules, this measure would improve our agencies’ means to enforce trade agreements and protect American innovation. I look forward to working with my Senate counterparts to ensure strong and effective enforcement and to advance our trade agenda.”

Rep. Boustany said:

“If foreign actors choose to violate our trade laws, we must ensure they face serious consequences. Important and historic South Louisiana businesses in the agriculture and seafood industries have been victimized by trade evasion, distorting market prices for their products and harming job creation. The PROTECT Act is vital legislation allowing for greater cooperation between government agencies and providing essential tools for our federal agencies to more effectively and efficiently put an end to duty evasion.”

Rep. Brady said:

In the 21st Century, time is a trade barrier that can leave American companies less competitive in the global marketplace. This bill is going to lower costs and delays at the border while improving security and enforcement. I am pleased to join Chairman Tiberi to move this legislation that will improve three vital aspects of the Customs mission: modernization, facilitation, and enforcement.

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Ryan Opening Statement on TPA

2015/04/23

WASHINGTON — Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered the following opening statement during a markup of important trade legislation, including the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015.

"So, TPA. As we all know, trade promotion authority is a process for negotiating and considering trade deals. Some people wonder why we care about this process so much. But that’s because only a good process will get us a good result.

"We're negotiating a lot of trade deals right now. And our negotiators need this process in place so they can get a fair deal for the American worker.


"The reason is, our trading partners won't make concessions if they don't trust us. If they think Congress will rewrite the deal, they won't put their best offers on the table. So Congress and the president have to present a united front.

"Now some people think that means Congress needs to defer to the administration. Far from it. What we're saying is, the administration needs to defer to Congress.

"TPA puts Congress in the driver's seat—because we set the agenda. What we say to the administration is, first, here are the negotiating objectives.

"Tear down barriers to our exports. Beef up protections for our intellectual property. Get rid of kickbacks for government-owned firms.

"Second, here are your transparency and consultation requirements. Every member can read the negotiating text. Every member can attend negotiating rounds.

"And 60 days before the administration finalizes the deal, it's got to publish the full text of the agreement, so the American people can read it themselves.

"And third, if you don't meet all of these requirements, we can revoke TPA for that agreement. Congress gets the final say. But if you do meet all these requirements, we will vote on the deal in a timely manner.

"And once we show our trading partners we're trustworthy, they'll put their best offers on the table.

"Now, why are we doing all this? Because more American trade means more American jobs.


"Ninety-six percent of the world's customers—they don't live in the United States; they live in other countries. So if we want to create more jobs here, we need to open those markets.

"Other countries have been keeping our products out with all sorts of trade barriers. We have a unique opportunity to write the rules of these trade deals to tear down those barriers and open markets for American products.

"And TPA will increase our bargaining power so we get the most effective trade deals possible—so we tear down more trade barriers and create more opportunity right here in America. If we don't, countries like China are more than happy to step in and write the global rules.

"That's the point. I want TPA in place so we can level the playing field for the American worker, so we can create more jobs and higher take-home pay, and so we can build a healthy economy and more opportunity for all."

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Expanding American Trade with Accountability and Transparency

2015/04/22

House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) today announced that the Committee on Ways and Means will hold a hearing on expanding American trade with accountability and transparency.  The hearing will take place Wednesday, April 22, 2015, at 3:00 PM in Longworth 1100. 

Hearing Advisory

Witness List

The Honorable Penny S. Pritzker
Secretary, Department of Commerce
Testimony

The Honorable Jacob J. Lew
Secretary, Department of the Treasury
Testimony
 
The Honorable Thomas J. Vilsack
Secretary, Department of Agriculture
Testimony

Public Submissions For Record
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Chairman Roskam Announces Hearing on 2015 Tax Filing Season

2015/04/22

House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight Chairman Peter J. Roskam (R-IL) today announced that the Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing on the 2015 tax filing season and general operations at the Internal Revenue Service.  The hearing will take place on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 10:00 AM in Room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building.

Hearing Advisory

Witness List

The Honorable John Koskinen
Commissioner, Internal Revenue Service
Testimony


Public Submissions For Record
Please click here to submit a statement or letter for the record.

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Ryan Hits the Airwaves to Make the Case for TPA

2015/04/22


WASHINGTON — House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) took to the airwaves to make the case for trade promotion authority, speaking with several news outlets over the past 24 hours.

Speaking with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on On the Record, Chairman Ryan said:

"The rest of the world is going around getting trade agreements and the U.S. is losing. There is a race right now to write the rules of the global economy, the question is: Who is going to write the rules? Is it the U.S. and our allies or is it in this case China? And so what we’re trying to do is make sure that we write the rules of the global economy that benefit American workers and that benefit American jobs."

Speaking with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brezinski on Morning Joe, Chairman Ryan said:

"Ninety five percent of the world’s consumers, they don’t live in America, they live in other countries. If we want to have more, higher-paying jobs, we need to be able to make and grow things in American and sell them overseas."

Speaking with CNBC’s Joe Kernen on Squawk Box, Chairman Ryan said:

"This is good for jobs. It's about getting a better deal for our workers and leveling the playing field. And so if you are standing still on trade these days, you're slipping behind."

Speaking with Bloomberg TV’s Peter Cook on In the Loop, Chairman Ryan said:

"One in five jobs in America is tied to trade. It is very important in this global economy that we get better jobs for our workers and level the playing field and open up new customers."

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Roskam Opening Statement: Hearing on 2015 Tax Filing Season

2015/04/22

WASHINGTON — Today, Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) delivered the following opening statement during a hearing on the 2015 tax filing season and general operations at the Internal Revenue Service.

"Welcome to the Oversight Subcommittee's third hearing of the 114th Congress. Today we will review the 2015 tax return filing season and general operations at the Internal Revenue Service.

"The American people have the right to expect excellence from their government—including the IRS. This is a standard familiar to ordinary Americans every day in their jobs and family lives, and it is a standard that is especially important in light of the tremendous power that they have delegated to their government to perform key functions and administer them fairly and effectively. Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Taxpayer Bill of Rights to make the rights of individuals the law when they deal with the IRS. One of those rights is the Right to Quality Service. 

"Unfortunately, many taxpayers did not receive quality service this filing season. Many didn't receive assistance at all. 

"For filing season 2015, the IRS reported that only 54 percent of taxpayers who called the agency were able to talk to a live assister. By April, the IRS estimated that the telephone level of service was less than 40 percent.  Keep in mind that the IRS’s goal for customer service is 80 percent.

"Those who could get through at all had to wait an average of 34 minutes, over 15 minutes longer than last year. The number of abandoned calls increased by 1.3 million. The IRS also reported that as of April 8th, the number of 'courtesy disconnects'—a nicer way to say the system automatically hangs up on you because the wait time would be too long—had reached 5 million. 

"The IRS has blamed the decline in customer service on budget cuts. But Congress didn't cut the IRS's budget for taxpayer assistance from 2014 to 2015. Let me repeat that. The amount of money Congress appropriated to the IRS for taxpayer assistance was the same this year as last year, but the level of service has decreased drastically. The Commissioner himself has said that taxpayer assistance this year is quote 'abysmal.' 

"So what happened? The IRS made the decision to move money away from taxpayer assistance. The IRS has access to its user fee account, which includes fees collected for various IRS services. Last year, the IRS spent $183 million of its user fees, or 44 percent of the total user fee account, on taxpayer services. 

"This year, the IRS only plans to spend $49 million in user fees on taxpayer services. That's $134 million dollars less than last year, a 73% cut. If the IRS had used that $134 million to answer calls for assistance, it could have helped 16 million people.

"At the same time the IRS was diverting user fees from taxpayer assistance, it was also failing to allocate the resources it already has available wisely. For 2014, the IRS spent $60 million dollars on performance bonuses for employees. In recent years, bonuses have been paid to more than 1,000 IRS employees delinquent on their own taxes. The FY2014 bonus money could have been used to answer 7.2 million additional taxpayer phone calls.

"The IRS also spent $23.5 million, and over 491,000 hours on union time in 2014. That could have been used to answer nearly 2.5 million phone calls.

"The IRS recently hired an expensive, white-shoe law firm to conduct litigation activities, with some lawyers on the account billing the U.S. government at over $1,000 an hour. This makes no sense, since taxpayer money already goes to pay the salaries of IRS and DOJ attorneys who should easily have been able to perform these duties. The IRS gave the law firm a $2.1 million dollar contract. That money could have instead helped 252,000 people resolve their tax filing questions. 

"The IRS has also complained specifically about the impact of budget cuts on its enforcement resources. Commissioner, you've gone so far as to characterize these cuts as a quote 'tax cut for tax cheats.' But the IRS could increase its enforcement budget by over $100 million every year through third party debt collectors using authority it already has under current law.

"Sequestration has forced everyone to do more with less and make tough choices. But I'm concerned that the IRS, by its own admission, is doing 'less with less.' And the IRS's choices—and they are choices—on how to allocate resources have been deeply disappointing. They don't meet the reasonable expectations of the American people, and the IRS needs to do better.

"Finally, there is another issue that continues to be a matter of serious public concern—is the IRS auditing me because they don't like my personal views? Through this Committee's investigation of IRS targeting we found that senior IRS employees defied internal safeguards to decide who should be audited. As part of this fact-finding I asked the IRS to tell us: How many audits are started because someone inside or outside the IRS complains about a given taxpayer. The answer is startling: More than one out of four audits are started on the basis of internal or external complaints—that is—on the basis of the IRS's own discretion. What I want to learn is whether there are any meaningful safeguards in place to prevent the IRS from auditing people or groups that it does not like, or if taxpayers are simply at the mercy of the IRS under this enormous amount of discretion.

"The American people deserve excellence from their government, and they have the fundamental right to always receive fair service at the IRS regardless of their personal political views. I hope this hearing will give us an opportunity to further develop these important issues as we review the 2015 tax filing season."

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Paul Ryan and Ted Cruz Op-Ed: Putting Congress in Charge on Trade

2015/04/22

Wall Street Journal op-ed

“[W]e strongly urge our colleagues in Congress to vote for trade-promotion authority."


The United States is making headway on two historic trade agreements, one with 11 countries on the Pacific Rim and another with America’s friends in Europe. These two agreements alone would mean greater access to a billion customers for American manufacturers, farmers and ranchers.

But before the U.S. can complete the agreements, Congress needs to strengthen the country’s bargaining position by establishing trade-promotion authority, also known as TPA, which is an arrangement between Congress and the president for negotiating and considering trade agreements. In short, TPA is what U.S. negotiators need to win a fair deal for the American worker.

There is a lot at stake. One in five American jobs depends on trade, and that share is only going to grow. Ninety-six percent of the world’s customers are outside the U.S. To create more jobs here, America needs to sell more goods and services over there. When that happens, the American worker benefits. Manufacturing jobs tied to trade pay 16% more on average, according to a study released by the independent U.S. International Trade Commission.

Right now, though, the American worker isn’t competing on a level playing field against many overseas economies. The U.S. economy is one of the most open in the world—and for good reason. Thanks to lower duties on imports, the average American family saves $13,600 a year, according to a study by HSBC. But other countries put up trade barriers that drive up prices for U.S. goods and services and make it hard to sell them there.

The American worker can compete with anybody, if given a fair chance. If you add up all 20 countries that the U.S. has a trade agreement with, American manufacturers run a $50 billion trade surplus with them. The problem is that not all countries have a trade agreement with the U.S.; American manufacturers run a $500 billion trade deficit with those nations. That is why the U.S. needs effective trade agreements to lay down fair and strong rules that level the playing field. Without such rules, America’s trading partners will keep stacking the deck against job creators in this country.

But Congress can’t just take the administration’s word that it will drive a hard bargain. We have to hold it accountable, and that is what trade-promotion authority will help do.

Under TPA, Congress lays out three basic requirements for the administration. First, it must pursue nearly 150 specific negotiating objectives, like beefing up protections for U.S. intellectual property or eliminating kickbacks for government-owned firms. Second, the administration must consult regularly with Congress and meet high transparency standards.

And third, before anything becomes law, Congress gets the final say. The Constitution vests all legislative power in Congress. So TPA makes it clear that Congress—and only Congress—can change U.S. law. If the administration meets all the requirements, Congress will give the agreement an up-or-down vote. But if the administration fails, Congress can hit the brakes, cancel the vote and stop the agreement.

Continue reading

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IRS Diverts Funding Away from Customer Service, Says New Report

2015/04/22

WASHINGTON — Today, the Ways and Means Committee released a new report on the IRS’s exceedingly poor customer service during the 2015 tax-filing season. Despite the IRS’s claim that its lackluster performance was due to budget cuts, the committee has found extensive evidence that the IRS deliberately cut funding for customer service that was fully under its control

“These findings are deeply troubling,” said Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). “At all times, but especially during tax season, the IRS should put the taxpayer first. But instead, the agency cut funding for the very customer service that taxpayers rely on. The IRS has a lot to answer for, and the Ways and Means Committee is going to hold it accountable.”

The report—entitled, “Doing Less with Less: The IRS’s Spending Decisions Harm Taxpayers”—lays out the IRS’s questionable decisions in detail. Among its findings:

  • This IRS made a 73 percent reduction in user fees allocated to customer service, and a 6 percent decrease in total funding for taxpayer assistance. 
  • The IRS awarded $60 million in bonuses to its employees, at a time when the IRS did not yet know what its budget would be for fiscal year 2015.
  • The amount of time IRS employees spent on union activity would allow for over 2 million additional taxpayer-assistance calls.
  • If the IRS contracted with private debt collectors it could increase its own enforcement budget by more than $100 million every year.
  • The IRS prioritized Affordable Care Act implementation over other activities, including taxpayer assistance.
  • The rate of improper payments of the Earned Income Tax Credit has remained consistently high regardless of the IRS’s funding rate.
  • Not only did the IRS spend $2.1 million on litigation services that the government could easily have performed itself, but it may have improperly shared confidential taxpayer information.
  • Although the IRS has made several unsuccessful IT investments, the IRS successfully implemented a comprehensive IT system to implement the ACA.
  • At the end of fiscal year 2014, the IRS estimated total tax delinquency was 3.12 percent for federal employees, representing over $3.5 billion owed in taxes.

To read the whole report, see here.

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Ryan Opening Statement: TPA Will Promote American Trade and Restore American Leadership

2015/04/22

WASHINGTON — Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered the following opening statement during a hearing on expanding American trade with accountability and transparency.

"Well, first, I want to thank our witnesses: Secretary Lew, Secretary Pritzker, and Secretary Vilsack. I'm interested to hear your testimony. But before we start, I want to say a few words about why today's topic is so important. Why do we need to establish trade promotion authority? What's the point of all this? Well, for me, it all comes down to two things: promoting American trade and restoring American leadership.

"Right now, we're negotiating the biggest trade deal in history, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It alone will cover 40 percent of the world economy—our country and 11 others, ranging from Japan and Malaysia to Canada. Now, I've talked to a lot of people from these countries—elected officials, businessmen, activists. And the question on everybody's minds is, 'Can the United States close the deal?'

"Can we drive a hard bargain? Will we keep our word? Do we have staying power? Or should the world look elsewhere for leadership? That's why we need to establish trade promotion authority. TPA will send a signal to the world: The United States will not retreat; we will stay engaged.

"Once we present a united front, our credibility will get a major boost. Our trading partners will know we're trustworthy. Our rivals will know we're serious. And the American people will know this trade agreement is a fair deal for them—because they'll have the information they need to decide for themselves.

"A lot of people have said the trade negotiations have been too secretive. And I agree. That's why TPA will make the negotiations more transparent and more accountable. Under TPA, any member of Congress will be able to read the negotiating text. In fact, TPA will require the administration to post the full text of the agreement at least 60 days before signing the deal, so the American people can read it themselves.

"And most important, TPA makes clear that Congress gets the final say. If the administration fails to meet its obligations, Congress can hit the breaks, cancel the vote, and stop the agreement.

"But we need to move, because if you're not moving forward in trade negotiations, you're falling behind. In the first ten years of this century, the countries of East Asia negotiated 48 trade agreements. The U.S., on the other hand, negotiated just two in that region. As a result, our share of East Asia's imports fell by 42 percent. Every one of our top competitors did better—every one.

"And while we're sitting on the sidelines, China is negotiating agreements all over the world. They're writing rules that give kickbacks to government-owned firms and stack the deck against American job creators. So it all comes down to this question: Is China going to write the rules of the global economy, or are we?

"The fact is, we're the only country that can do this. We're the only country that can tear down barriers to American exports and win a fair deal for the American worker. We're the only country that can stand up for free enterprise and the rule of law. We know these are serious times. The stakes are high. They call out for leadership. And I want to pass this bill because I want America to answer that call."

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Chairman Brady Announces Hearing on the Individual and Employer Mandates in the President’s Health Care Law

2015/04/14

Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, today announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the individual and employer mandates and associated penalties in the President’s health care law. The hearing will take place immediately following a brief Subcommittee organizational meeting on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, in Room B-318 of the Rayburn House Office Building, beginning at 10:00 A.M. 

Hearing Advisory

Witness List

Douglas Holtz-Eakin
President, American Action Forum
Testimony
(Truth in Testimony)

Scott Womack
President, Womack Restaurants
Testimony
(Truth in Testimony)

Sabrina Corlette
Faculty, Georgetown University
Testmony
(Truth in Testimony)


Public Submissions For Record
Please click here to submit a statement or letter for the record.
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Organizational Meeting of the Subcommittee on Health

2015/04/14

Chairman Brady has scheduled an organizational meeting of the Subcommittee on Health to be held in B-318 Rayburn House Office Building on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. 
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Markup of: H.R. 1058, “Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act of 2015”; H.R. 1152, “To prohibit officers and employees of the Internal Revenue Service from using personal email accounts to conduct official business"; H.R. 1026, “Taxpayer Knowledge of IRS Investigations Act”; H.R. 1314, “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for a right to an administrative appeal relating to adverse determinations of tax-exempt status of certain organizations”;H.R. 1295, “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to improve the process for making determinations with respect to whether organizations are exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(4) of such Code”; H.R. 709, “Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act”; H.R. 1104, “Fair Treatment for All Donations.; and H.R. 1105, “Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015.”

2015/03/25

Chairman Ryan has scheduled a Meeting of the Committee on Ways and Means to be held in 1334 Longworth House Office Building on Wednesday, March 25, 2015, at 1:30 PM. 

Markup Of:
Additional Markup Materials:
Markup Results:

H.R. 1058 was ordered favorably reported to the House of Representatives as amended by voice vote (with a quorum being present).

H.R. 1152 was ordered favorably reported to the House of Representatives as amended by voice vote (with a quorum being present).

H.R. 1026 was ordered favorably reported to the House of Representatives as amended by voice vote (with a quorum being present).

H.R. 1314 was ordered favorably reported to the House of Representatives as amended by voice vote (with a quorum being present).

Amendment by Mr. Holding to the amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 1295, which would require that any fees collected pursuant to the bill be subject to appropriations.

The vote on the amendment by Mr. Holding to the amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 1295, which would require that any fees collected pursuant to the bill be subject to appropriations, was agreed to by voice vote (with a quorum being present)

Amendment by Mr. McDermott to the amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 1295, which would require 501(c)(4) organizations to indicate whether they plan to engage in certain political activity.

The vote on the amendment by Mr. McDermott to the amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 1295, which would require 501(c)(4) organizations to indicate whether they plan to engage in certain political activity, was not agreed to by a roll call vote of 20 nays to 11 yeas (with a quorum being present). 

H.R. 1295 was ordered favorably reported to the House of Representatives as amended by voice vote (with a quorum being present).

H.R. 709 was ordered favorably reported to the House of Representatives as amended by voice vote (with a quorum being present).

H.R. 1104 was ordered favorably reported to the House of Representatives as amended by voice vote (with a quorum being present).

The bill, H.R 1105, was ordered favorably reported to the House of Representatives as amended by a roll call vote of 22 yeas to 10 nays (with a quorum being present). 


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Chairman Roskam Announces Hearing on the Use of Data to Stop Medicare Fraud

2015/03/24

House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) today announced that the Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing on the federal government’s use of data analysis—particularly the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Fraud Prevention System (FPS)—to identify emerging trends, and stop Medicare fraud.  This hearing will allow the Committee to hear from both government and non-governmental witnesses on the progress that the FPS has made and what continued efforts are under way to use data analysis in identifying and stopping fraud and waste within Medicare. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, March 24 at 10:00 AM in Room B-318 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Witness List

PANEL 1:

Dr. Shantanu Agrawal
Deputy Administrator and Director, Center for Program Integrity, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Testimony

Mr. Gary Cantrell
Deputy Inspector General for Investigations, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Testimony

PANEL 2:

Ms. Charlene Frizzera
President and CEO, CF Health Advisors
Testimony

Mr. Kirk Ogrosky
Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP
Testimony

Mr. Mark Nelsen
Senior VP for Risk Products and Business Intelligence, Visa Inc.
Testimony

Mr. Louis Saccoccio
Executive Director, National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association 
Testimony

Public Submissions For Record
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*UPDATE: NEW LOCATION* Chairman Reichert Announces Hearing on the Burden of the Estate Tax on Family Businesses and Farms

2015/03/18

*UPDATE: NEW LOCATION*
All other details remain unchanged


Congressman David Reichert (R-WA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, today announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the burdens family businesses and farms face planning for and paying the estate tax. The hearing will take place immediately following a brief Subcommittee organizational meeting on Wednesday, March 18, 2015, in Room 1310 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 10:00 A.M. 

Hearing Advisory

Witness List

Mr. Brandon Whitt
Batey Farms
Testimony

Mr. Robert E. McKnight
McKnight Ranch Co.
Testimony

Ms. Karen Madonia
Chief Financial Officer, Illco, Inc
Testimony
 
Ms. Ray Madoff
Professor, Boston College Law School
Testimony

Public Submissions For Record

Please click here to submit a statement or letter for the record.
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Chairman Boustany Announces Hearing on Using Evidence to Help Low-Income Individuals and Families Get Ahead

2015/03/17

Today, Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany (R-LA) announced that the subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “Expanding Opportunity by Funding What Works: Using Evidence to Help Low-Income Individuals and Families Get Ahead.” This hearing is the second in a series focused on ways to help move America’s families forward. The hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, in room B-318 of the Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing Advisory


Witness List

John Bridgeland
CEO, Civic Enterprises
Testimony
(Truth in Testimony)

David Muhlhausen
Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis, The Heritage Foundation
Testimony
(Truth in Testimony)

Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst
Director, Brown Center on Education Policy, The Brookings Institution
Testimony
(Truth in Testimony)

Joan Entmacher
Vice President for Family Economic Security, National Women’s Law Center
Testimony
(Truth in Testimony)

Public Submissions For Record
Please click here to submit a statement or letter for the record.
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There is no media available for this committee.

Contact Information

1102 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3625
Fax 202-225-5680
waysandmeans.house.gov


Membership

Diane Black

TENNESSEE's 6th DISTRICT

Charles Boustany

LOUISIANA's 3rd DISTRICT

Kevin Brady

TEXAS' 8th DISTRICT

Vern Buchanan

FLORIDA's 16th DISTRICT

George Holding

NORTH CAROLINA's 13th DISTRICT

Lynn Jenkins

KANSAS' 2nd DISTRICT

Sam Johnson

TEXAS' 3rd DISTRICT

Mike Kelly

PENNSYLVANIA's 3rd DISTRICT

Kenny Marchant

TEXAS' 24th DISTRICT

Patrick Meehan

PENNSYLVANIA's 7th DISTRICT

Kristi Noem

SOUTH DAKOTA

Devin Nunes

CALIFORNIA's 22nd DISTRICT

Erik Paulsen

MINNESOTA's 3rd DISTRICT

Tom Price

GEORGIA's 6th DISTRICT

Tom Reed

NEW YORK's 23rd DISTRICT

Dave Reichert

WASHINGTON's 8th DISTRICT

Jim Renacci

OHIO's 16th DISTRICT

Peter Roskam

ILLINOIS' 6th DISTRICT

Paul Ryan

WISCONSIN's 1st DISTRICT

Adrian Smith

NEBRASKA's 3rd DISTRICT

Jason Smith

MISSOURI's 8th DISTRICT

Pat Tiberi

OHIO's 12th DISTRICT

Todd Young

INDIANA's 9th DISTRICT