This past week I enjoyed crisscrossing the Eighth Congressional District to listen to you about issues impacting your life.
On the trail I had the chance to discuss tax reform and receive feedback on how the new law was benefiting our local communities. The response was gratifying. Local businesses in Texas are investing in bonuses, pay raises, higher savings accounts, and more benefits for their workers. I heard countless times how well this new tax code works — for families, small businesses, teachers, medical professionals, manufacturers, farmers, ranchers and so many more.
In fact, more than 120 of those businesses providing additional benefits are in Texas, with more than 30 in the Eighth District. As withholding changes continue to take effect, the vast majority of Texans are going to see more take home pay as a result of the law. Furthermore, industries that drive the Texas economy like energy, aerospace, and technology are making major investments in their business and their workers.
I am proud to say the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which I authored is delivering real relief and prosperity to hardworking families and job creators in the Eighth District and across the country.
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However, I also learned that an Obama-era regulation was wreaking havoc for some. I met with a group of farmers and ranchers to learn more about the effects of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate.
I understand this mandate has been a source of confusion and frustration for livestock, horse and commodity haulers who feel they’ve been caught up in the wider net of “commercial drivers.”
My office has expressed those concerns to the Transportation Department. They have committed to release additional information and resources on how this mandate relates to drivers using their vehicles for transportation of commodities from one source to another, and livestock and horses to rodeos and stock shows.
I understand how this mandate harms our local agriculture producers and show participants, and will continue to press for rule exemptions for agriculture to include livestock, horse and highly perishable commodity haulers.
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When it comes to trade, Texas is the number one exporting state in the country, thanks to trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. In the coming days, I’ll lead a bipartisan congressional delegation to the seventh round of NAFTA negotiations in Mexico City.
President Trump has pushed for a modern, 21st Century deal that is fair for everyone involved. I am committed to working closely with the President and his Administration to deliver the best agreement for the American people, with strong, enforceable rules. That means better markets and more customers for Texas energy producers, farmers, and manufacturers, lower prices for Texas consumers, and more jobs for hard-working Texans everywhere.
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The tragedy in Parkland, Florida is horrific and could have been prevented with timely, adequate response to the citizens who had phoned in advance warning of the shooter's mind-set. Most importantly, we owe this to the loved ones of those who died and the survivors — no empty gestures.
Let's not rush to do something that turns out to do nothing to prevent these tragedies in the future. Let's enforce the strong laws we have on the books, improve law enforcement response to advance warnings and make existing background check laws work to their potential.
Congress must work with state and local leaders, including school personnel, to address the root cause of these acts of violence, such as preventing access to firearms by the dangerously mentally ill and ensuring our communities and schools have the resources they need to protect and keep our children safe.
Infringing on the constitutional rights of law abiding, American citizens will not make our communities or children safer.
U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady chairs the House Ways and Means Committee.