Americans want Congress to solve problems and tax reform is a start

Published 8:44 am Monday, September 11, 2017

Traveling across the Volunteer State during the month of August is one of the most valuable parts of my job, and this past month was one of the most energizing summer work periods I have experienced since being elected to the Senate.
From Sevierville to Memphis, I traveled more than 1,975 miles across our state to hear from Tennesseans about the issues you care about most.
During my travels, I heard a common theme: you want your elected leaders — across the board — to do better. I agree. That is why I am fighting for you and against Washington’s broken system on a daily basis.
As we return to D.C. this week, one of the most important tasks on the agenda is to reform America’s broken tax code to provide middle-class tax relief and reinvigorate our economy, which will lead to more jobs and higher wages.
The good news is that there is broad understanding in the White House and on both sides of the aisle in the Senate and House that our tax code is antiquated, uncompetitive and overly complex. I know the president is committed to tax reform.
I am committed to tax reform. And it is our responsibility on behalf of the American people to get it done.
During the last election, we often heard President Trump talk about the forgotten man and woman. The fact is that a lot of the political divides taking place in our country today are driven by the stark reality that many Americans, especially in the rural parts of our state and country, feel they have been left behind.
They have done what they thought they needed to get ahead and provide a better life for their children and grandchildren. They graduated high school. Or maybe they went to a couple of years of community college or a technical school. They found work and gave it their all. And yet they find themselves in jobs that in many cases pay less than they did 20 years ago.
It is clear that something has to change, and passing comprehensive tax reform will be an important step in the right direction.
By overhauling our tax code, these individuals and families will be able to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks and invest more effectively for the future.
These families also will benefit from the president’s plan, which will level the playing field for American businesses. Right now, U.S. companies are the highest taxed in the industrial world. And while small businesses still make up the bulk of job creation in our country, by cutting our business tax rate, we will further unleash the animal spirits of the American economy and spur major investments in our communities that need it most.
As we begin this public debate, my focus will be on ensuring we are building a more simplified tax code that eliminates loopholes, encourages investment and sparks economic growth, delivering a pay raise to hardworking Americans.
But with our federal debt approaching $20 trillion, we must find a way to do so without making our dire fiscal situation worse, which remains the greatest threat to our country.
Over the next few weeks and months, you are going to hear heated rhetoric on both sides of this debate. There is a reason our tax code has not been reformed for more than three decades.
Passions on this issue run deep. And the road ahead will not be easy. But I do not think you sent me to Washington to shy away from great challenges.
You sent me to Washington to tackle problems, call it how I see it, and work to create a better life for you and your families. That will remain my focus during this debate, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate and with the White House to accomplish this task.
(Bob Corker, R-Chattanooga, represents Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.)

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