Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Tuesday that his two top priorities for the coming year are tax reform and replacing the Affordable Care Act.
At the Wall Street Journal‘s CEO Council meeting, Brady said President-elect Donald Trump is making economic growth the pillar of his presidency and that these two issues will play key roles.
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"We have two overarching goals in tax reform," Brady said. "We want a tax code not merely designed to wring money from you, which is the one we have today, [but] a tax code actually built for growth, designed to grow wages, jobs, and the U.S. economy."
"Our other goal is to leapfrog America from dead last among our global competitors back into that lead pack, and keep us there going forward," he said.
Brady said he plans to grow wages by redesigning the IRS and by simplifying the tax code so Americans can file their tax return on a postcard.
Brady was asked if he was prepared to add to the debt of the United States to pass tax reform.
"Right now we designed our blueprint to break even within the budget considering that economic growth, we think that’s the right approach," he said. "We're going to lose some revenues in the early years. We're going to gain them back in those next five years."
"We want a tax code built for growth," he said.
The other top priority for Republicans will be to repeal and replace Obamacare, which Brady said is fundamentally flawed and there are no simple fixes for.
"You’ve got very expensive insurance with huge out of pocket costs and deductibles, and a very narrow network, and that’s because of the design of the ACA," Brady said. "If you think there are simple fixes to this to save it, there isn't. It is fundamentally flawed."
"The Republican blueprint envisions getting the incentives right so that Americans have the right incentives to have an insurance plan that’s right for them at that point in their life, the portability to take it with them in their situation, and change that plan if there's another need that they have," he said.
Brady touts the concept of a "healthcare backpack," which would include a plan that's easily tailored to the individual, includes the financial tools to afford it, provides easy access to medical records for portability, and gives health savings accounts to save for day-to-day expenses.
Even though passing tax reform and repealing and replacing Obamacare are difficult issues, Brady believes they can be accomplished.
"We want to let the president know what these priorities are, but as we are speaking right now we are writing the legislative language for these major reforms," he said.