By Lynda Jones
Congressman Kevin Brady (District 8, R-Texas) told the Houston County Courier that his life "has gotten very exciting very fast," since the Nov. 8 General Election.
Brady took time for a whirlwind visit with the 8th Congressional District via a series of phone interviews on Monday, Nov. 21.
Brady said priorities for the House Ways and Means Committee and for the incoming Trump administration include "fixing this broken tax code, repealing and replacing Obamacare".
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. By leading the Ways and Means Committee, it lets me the ability to make a huge difference in people's lives, and to do it on behalf of the 8th Congressional District, so, voters in Houston County will have a bigger say in how these issues are solved," Brady said.
"As chairman of the Ways and Means Committee," Brady said, "I'll be leading the effort on both of those, on behalf of the House of Representatives.
"In the first week (following the election), we were in contact continuously with the Trump transition team. They've set their priorities for the first 100 days of the presidency."
Brady also said, "They've only been in place 10 days (at the time of the interview). I think they deserve plenty of time to determine the timing of their priorities.
"I'm pretty confident that, for the first time in 30 years, we're going to see the opportunity to fix our broken tax code. And, for the first time in six years, the opportunity to give people the kind of affordable health care they deserve.
Both of them are huge (issues)."
Brady discussed the impact of the new tax system on Houston County.
"In Houston County, local leaders are always looking for ways to grow the economy.
I'm convinced the way Washington taxes our local businesses and families hurts the local economy," he said. "I'm convinced creating a fair, flatter, simpler tax system, we'll have the lowest rates on our local businesses in modern history. We've redesigned the tax code, so our local businesses can compete and win anywhere in the world, especially here at home.
"Our forms simplify the code, so 9 out of 10 Americans will be able to file their taxes using a postcard style system, and then busting up the IRS so it is a much smaller organization focused on customer service – those are exciting reforms."
Brady said he is receiving a "fantastic response" from constituents at his recent town hall meetings across the 8th Congressional District.
When asked how long he thinks it will take to implement the new tax code, Brady said, "Because the House Republicans already built the Better Tax Code early this year -- we're finishing the work on it the end of this year -- we'll be ready for the new president to pick it up early in 2017. So I'm hopeful the new tax code can be in place next year, and I believe repealing Obamacare can happen in 2017 -- to make sure that Americans have plenty of time to transition to a new healthcare system."
Brady anticipates that replacing Obamacare will take several years. "Unlike Obamacare," Brady said, "the Republicans will not rip healthcare out of the hands of the American people. That was one of the big problems. Obamacare forced Americans to buy expensive healthcare that they didn't want and couldn't afford, and penalized them if they didn't. "
Brady emphasized that the Republican healthcare plan is focused on what families and local businesses need -- not what Washington needs. We create incentives to buy affordable healthcare and reward you when you do."
In response to criticism that Republicans cannot repeal and replace Obamacare if they wish to keep the parts they like, Brady said, "The Republican plan, and Mr. Trump has said as well, we will keep key patient protections, such as leaving kids on
on your plan until they're age 26, covering pre-existing illnesses, and lifting the lifetime caps – so if you have a child that gets a costly disease early in life, they can have coverage throughout their lifetime...we'll keep those."
Plans for tax reform and healthcare reforms officially started earlier this year, in February, Brady explained. He said, "But we had worked on tax reform for five years and the Obamacare replacement for six. This was not an overnight thing at all.
We worked very deliberately over time, to make sure we have the right tax reform to grow the economy and the right health care to get families a plan they could afford
He reiterated that it has been three decades since America last reformed its tax code. Constituents at Brady's town hall meetings overwhelmingly have said it's time for a simpler tax code.
"It's time. It's overdue. It's amazing how complex it is," Brady said.
If Brady's predictions are accurate, Americans won't have to wait much longer.--