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House Freedom Caucus To Ryan: Cancel August Recess

The conservatives of the House Freedom Caucus have a novel idea for Democratic Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and the House Republican leadership: Cancel the August recess and get the work they were elected to do done.

"The House Freedom Caucus has taken an official position in support of the House staying in session through the August recess to continue working to accomplish the priorities of the American people," the group said in a Jim Jordanstatement last week.

One of the reasons for cancelling the August recess and working is that the House Freedom Caucus wants to “go big” on a tax reform package to include welfare reforms, but likely wouldn’t include a tax on imports, or a border adjustment tax.

“There is not consensus for the border adjustment tax,” Rep. Mark Meadows, NC-11, said Friday during a panel of four House Freedom Caucus members at The Heritage Foundation. “The sooner we acknowledge that and get on with a plan that actually works and actually can build consensus, the better off we will be,” he told the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, TX-8, has proposed the border adjustment tax as part of a broader tax proposal reports the Daily Signal. The border adjustment tax would slap a levy on imported goods into the United States, but make exported goods tax-free, a move viewed in part by supporters of the tax as a means to keep American jobs.

Rep. Jim Jordan, OH-4, was most adamantly opposed to a border adjustment tax, also known as BAT.

“Two principles should guide our tax policy. One, let families keep more of their money. Two, design a code that is conducive to producing economic growth,” Jordan said. “What is not conducive to those principles is a whole new tax on the American economy, the BAT.”

Brady has argued the tax would “restores America as the best place on the planet to do business.”

Rep. Dave Brat, VA-7, noted strong supply-side policies will create economic growth, which is the only way the country can dig out of a fiscal hole.

“You’ve got $20 trillion in debt and then $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities for … young people,” Brat said. “Medicare and Social Security are insolvent in 2034. And [the Congressional Budget Office] … [said] in about 15 or 20 years, all federal revenues will go only to mandatory and entitlement programs—all federal revenues. So, that means there is nothing left for the military, education, transportation, etc. … ”

Yet, none of these economic growth policies have even passed the first hurdle in the House, let alone gone to the Senate for its action.

One idea for getting Congress moving on tax reform would be to tie tax reform to welfare reform.

"Right now a budget cannot pass in the House of Representatives," Rep. Jim Jordan, said during a panel discussion at the Heritage Foundation. "What we're talking about putting forward is this: Maybe we can live with a higher budget number if in fact we do real welfare reform on the tax bill."

Jordan has introduced a bill that would require 100 hours of work activity a month for able-bodied adults receiving benefits from two major welfare programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Work requirements would be reduced for those with children, but the proposal would also impose limits on how long someone could be in the program.

"The idea is if you're able-bodied, you can't be living on the taxpayer, getting help from the taxpayer, forever," Jordan said in an interview after the panel with USA Today’s Herb Jackson.

According to Jackson’s reporting, Rep. Mark Meadows, said employers in his district have told him they cannot find workers for jobs whose only requirements are that the worker pass a drug test and show up on time.

"That's a pretty low bar," Meadows told Jackson.

Meadows said the welfare changes Jordan is seeking could save $400 billion, which could help offset tax cuts.

We agree with our friends in the Freedom Caucus; it’s time to go big on tax reform, and to do that Congress must work through the August recess to get a bill on the President’s desk.

The Capitol Switchboard is 1-866-220-0044, we urge CHQ readers to call their Representative and Senators; tell them to skip the August Recess and put a pro-growth tax reform package on President Trump’s desk.

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