When Farmers Succeed, America Succeeds
Editor's Note: Farm Policy Facts is pleased to publish a guest editorial from U.S. Representative Kevin Brady, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, that highlights the policies his committee is working on to help our agricultural producers succeed. Farmers today face a number of challenges that drive up production costs and affect U.S. competitiveness in the global market. We applaud the hard work of lawmakers like Chairman Brady and others who work on behalf of American farmers and ranchers. With increasing competition around the world and an increasingly burdensome tax and regulatory environment in the United States, America's farmers and ranchers need pro-growth policies that will help them compete and win across the globe - but especially here at home. Working with President Trump, that's exactly the kind of agenda we're moving forward in the House Ways and Means Committee. As a Texan, I understand how crucial farming and ranching are to a healthy and growing economy. I also know that our agricultural producers are facing serious challenges with a depressed farm economy, extreme weather conditions, and regulatory burdens. More overreach from Washington is the last thing they need. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had it right when he remarked, "You know, farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." So, rather than look to Washington for the answers, the Ways and Means Committee believes in providing more flexibility and economic freedom to our nation's farmers and ranchers. Here's how we're working to help them succeed.
Our nation's broken tax code is a major impediment to the success of American farmers, ranchers, and businesses of all sizes. That's why, in coordination with President Trump and our colleagues in the Senate, we are moving forward aggressively on pro-growth tax reform that focuses on job creation and economic growth.
This reform begins with significantly lower tax rates for farmers, ranchers, and all American job creators so they can keep more of their hard-earned income and invest it in growing their businesses.
Our plan also calls for simplifying the code dramatically; so agricultural producers can spend more time on the farm and with their families, and less on filing their taxes.
Additionally, we want to eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax to reduce complexity and compliance costs. And, repeal the death tax so farmers and ranchers can pass their family-owned businesses on to the next generation without having to worry about a potentially devastating tax bill.
We believe strong and strictly enforced trade agreements are critical to America's growers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, roughly a fifth of all American agriculture products are sold abroad, which creates millions of well-paying jobs here at home.
Through action to support free trade that is strictly enforced, we are working to promote U.S. economic growth by expanding the access of American farmers and ranchers to the world's markets, where over 95 percent of their potential customers live.
We are also working to enhance American agricultural leadership by removing barriers to competition and innovation and allowing our country—not our competitors—to write the rules for 21st century global trade. We must give U.S. agriculture the competitive edge needed to boost trade and strengthen our economy.
With the House's recent passage of the American Health Care Act, which the Ways and Means Committee helped develop, we have taken a major step to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace the failing law with a new system based on what Americans truly want and need - not what Washington thinks is best.
This legislation will help farmers and ranchers access affordable, quality health care options by providing a monthly, portable tax credit to purchase a health care plan that meets their needs - not one dictated by Washington. Our legislation will deliver relief from taxes and mandates that have made it harder for people living in rural communities to afford care because of higher premiums, fewer choices, and less access to doctors and hospitals.
Members of the Ways and Means Committee recognize that America's farmers and ranchers not only support our economy, they support nearly every aspect of our daily lives. We will continue our efforts to deliver the pro-growth solutions our producers need to overcome the challenges they face while also having the ability to innovate and grow their businesses. America can only succeed when our farmers and ranchers have an opportunity to compete and win around the world - but especially here at home.