Crapo Named Ranking Member of Senate Finance Committee
Outlines Priorities as Top Republican for the 117th Congress
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) will serve as the Ranking Member of the powerful Senate Finance Committee in the 117th Congress. The Senate Finance Committee oversees more than 50 percent of the federal budget, and Crapo’s position will give Idaho a strong voice in legislation related to federal tax policy; federal social safety net and health care programs, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; and implementation of reciprocal foreign trade agreements.
“I am humbled to serve as Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee during the 117th Congress,” said Crapo. “Because of its vast jurisdiction, covering so many important issues that broadly impact the lives of all Americans, the efforts in the Finance Committee too often are dominated by partisan debates and posturing on big picture national issues, including when it comes to taxes. These partisan debates and messaging exercises can overshadow the important, substantive and often bipartisan efforts of thoughtful and capable members.
“Chairman Wyden (D-Oregon) and I have worked together on many issues in the past, and I expect our productive working relationship to continue in the 117th Congress. As Ranking Member, I intend to work with him and all members of the Committee, building off previous successes and developing policies that will boost economic growth, expand access to affordable, quality health care, and improve global competitiveness in our trade deals.”
In the last year, Congress and the Administration have taken extraordinary actions to provide important targeted assistance to families, businesses and the unemployed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Finance Committee will be prepared to explore additional opportunities to provide necessary assistance to those who continue to struggle, while also looking to build on the strong pro-growth fiscal policy infrastructure already in place to further aid in our economic recovery.
In 2017, Congress enacted a comprehensive, pro-growth reform of our tax code for the first time in more than 30 years. Many of the final implementation regulations were released in 2020. I look forward to working with my colleagues to conduct extensive oversight of the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, to rigorously analyze data, and where necessary, to propose and consider ways to refine any provisions that may not be having the effect that was originally intended by Congress. We should also look to preserve and further strengthen those that are proving to have important pro-growth effects.
At the end of the 116th Congress, congressional tax writers came together in a bipartisan way to make important progress in addressing the regular exercise of enacting tax policies on a temporary basis. This included the enactment of the Crapo/Wyden proposal to make permanent the short line railroad maintenance tax credit. A number of other important provisions received either permanent extensions or multi-year extensions, leaving fewer provisions than ever to take the traditional route of receiving only a one-year extension. While there have been many calls to put an end to the annual “tax extenders” exercise, and instead to provide important certainty in the tax code, that goal of certainty remains unachieved for many of these items. With little exception, many of these provisions enjoy bipartisan support in Congress. We should undertake a process to recognize the bipartisan support of these provisions, to indefinitely extend those provisions found worthy of extension and to allow all others to remain expired.
Saving for retirement is important but often difficult, especially when faced with the increased uncertainty of the pandemic. Last year, members of the Committee found common ground in the area of retirement savings, and Congress passed and the President signed into law the bipartisan Setting Every Community up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019. The SECURE Act improves conditions for retirement by providing enhanced investment benefits and allowing retirement portfolios to increase in value, as market conditions continue to improve. Senators Portman and Cardin, who have a long history of cooperative work in the retirement savings space, have worked to develop many new retirement savings proposals to follow up on the success of the SECURE Act, and I look forward to exploring these proposals in the 117th Congress.
Ensuring access to effective and affordable health care is one of the greatest challenges facing the health profession, insurers, and local, state and federal governments. The burden that high insurance and medical costs places on working families and seniors with fixed incomes needs to be addressed. We must take steps to make health care more affordable, ensure access to a variety of coverage options and strengthen the safety net for those who fall through the cracks.
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged institutional health care, and public health providers and first responders have worked tirelessly to adapt responses. But, it has also proven that certain health care flexibilities can result in faster incorporation of innovative items and services, and should be considered as permanent solutions in some cases. In the past year, the expansion of telehealth and flexibilities in site of service location, permitted technology and provider scope of practice requirements have significantly contributed to the delivery of more efficient care. Further, we have experienced firsthand the value of private sector innovation. When novel medical products come to market, it is essential that all patients have timely access, regardless of the source of their insurance. We must work to make our federal health care programs more responsive to innovation, so that patients and providers are equipped with the resources necessary to receive the highest level of care.
We must also work to ensure the long-term solvency of our health care programs. For too long, Medicare has faced substantial financial shortfalls that must be addressed legislatively. Absent Congressional intervention, the program could become insolvent in a matter of years. It is time for Congress, in a bipartisan manner, to put Medicare on firm fiscal footing. By ensuring the program’s solvency, we can protect Medicare benefits for seniors today and promise future beneficiaries that they will receive health care in retirement.
Free and fair trade is vital for Idaho’s $4 billion export industry. Canada and Mexico are Idaho’s number one and five overall trading partners, respectively, with those countries being the top two destinations for nearly half of Idaho’s roughly $2 billion food and agricultural export industry. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) became law last year, expanding market access for farmers and addressing longstanding non-tariff barriers restricting U.S. producers’ ability to export wheat and wine to Canada. The USMCA has provided Idaho farmers, ranchers and small businesses with a trade agreement that has opened new trading pathways, while maintaining existing channels for top exports including potatoes, canola and beef cattle. This law took meaningful steps to ensure improved access to valuable export opportunities for Idaho’s farmers and ranchers, and I look forward to upholding the agreement and expanding on its success.
Last year’s Phase One trade deal with China took a meaningful step forward in improving trade relations with one of the United States’ biggest trading partners, and expanded market access and increased prices for Idaho wheat, dairy and beef producers. I intend to work with the incoming administration to ensure it advocates for more transparent and efficient systems for the review of agricultural biotechnology products, which are important to Idaho producers.
Building on the successes of these agreements, I will continue to support strong enforcement of our trade deals and press for policies that create a fairer climate for trade and expanded growth opportunities in the international marketplace for American businesses and consumers.
U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) joined the Senate Finance Committee in 2005, and became the top Republican on the Committee in February 2021. Senator Crapo strongly supports free market policies that fuel economic growth. Building on the successful 2017 tax reform law, increasing access to quality, affordable health care and promoting the U.S.’s global competitiveness through free and fair trade are among his top priorities. In addition to serving on the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Crapo is a current member and former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and a member of the Senate Budget Committee. Senator Crapo also serves on the Joint Committee on Taxation, a bipartisan committee with members of both the House and Senate who work collaboratively on the tax legislative process. His sensible approach has earned him the respect of his colleagues, and he has been selected to serve in various other leadership roles in the 117th Congress, including Chief Deputy Republican Whip.
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