Taxes, Trade, Military and Immigration Addressed
By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – A capacity crowd in the Vulcraft production break room greeted Congressman Kevin Brady as he made a stop on the campaign trail to discuss several issues deemed important to residents in his congressional district.
Rep. Brady (R) represents the 8th Congressional District of Texas which includes all of Montgomery, Walker, Houston, San Jacinto, Trinity, Grimes, Madison, and parts of Leon and Harris counties.
Vulcraft General Manager Chad Beard introduced Brady and said he serves as the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee which covers taxes, international trade, healthcare, Medicare, Social Security and welfare.
“As Chairman, he led the historic effort in 2017 to deliver the first comprehensive overhaul of America’s tax system in over 30 years,” Beard said.
Following his introduction, the congressman expressed his appreciation to the GM as well as the employees of Vulcraft for welcoming him to the steel plant.
As he began, Brady joked the first time he visited the plant in 1990, he had a comb and did not look like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
On a serious note, the congressman addressed the employees and said, “I want to make sure in what we are doing right now, there are plenty of customers for what you produce. We now have a tax code that allows Vulcraft to compete and win anywhere in the world, including here at home.”
“What we did for families,” he continued, “was to say you get to keep more of what you earn. We protected more of the money you earn from taxes. We doubled the standard deduction for a family – a husband and wife – the first $24,000 cannot be taxed. We doubled the help you can get for raising kids and expanded it to a lot more families.”
Continuing, the congressman added “… American manufacturers are the most optimistic in two decades. This is kind of a crazy number but eight out of 10 manufacturing companies like yours (Vulcraft) are hiring more right now. They are investing more like you’re doing with the new line and paying higher wages and bonuses.”
Brady also discussed his commitment to the military and informed those in attendance that in February, the Congress started to rebuild America’s military “… for the first time in a decade and a half. Our troops had been taking all the budget cuts. Troop strength was way down. They are flying older, outdated planes and cannibalizing each other for parts. Our ship strength had shrunk dramatically and we were not giving our troops what they deserve.”
He said the armed forces were not being given the tools to be successful but with the military spending bill passed in February “… you will see more troops. You’ll see more planes, better ships and better weaponry.”
Changing topics, Brady steered the discussion towards the area of trade.
“I think the president is exactly right to go after China for cheating. They have been doing it for years and it has cost us tens of thousands of dollars. It’s hard to compete when someone is cheating on the rules. The hard part is how do you punish China’s behavior and not hurt America while you’re doing it? It’s hard, but we’ve been working with the president on these tariffs and punishment on China. We’re trying to make sure fairly traded goods aren’t connected in it and don’t have tariffs,” he said.
In a break from the Trump administration’s policy, Brady said he was not a big fan of tariffs but added “… the president is using tariffs to drive these countries to the (bargaining) table so we can get better trade deals.”
Concerning immigration, Brady explained his belief that “… you have to shut the back door of illegal immigration so you can keep the front door of legal immigration open. If someone wants to come here, they’re welcome. They just have to play by the rules. On the border, we still have problems. You still have the gang members, drugs and the sex and human trafficking.”
Brady indicated he supported building the wall between Mexico and the U.S., ending the “catch and release” program and tightening up the visa process.
After taking several questions, the congressman thanked his hosts and departed for another meeting in Latexo.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.