Five Reasons to Reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration

In a decade, nearly a billion Americans will travel by air each year. Those families deserve first-rate infrastructure that provides them with the best, safest experience possible. That’s why today, the House will begin taking up a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)—the first long-term reauthorization package since 2012.  

This initiative is the latest in our ongoing efforts to upgrade America’s infrastructure. The recent government funding bill included $21.2 billion in new funding for long-overdue infrastructure improvements, including resources to improve airports. Earlier this month, federal agencies initiated reforms based on tools provided by Congress to expedite critical projects. This FAA package continues that progress. 

Here are five reasons the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 is the right, needed way to reauthorize FAA programs:

  1. Bolsters Aviation Infrastructure: As part of our infrastructure initiative, this bill puts long-term, stable funding toward rebuilding our nation’s airports. By reauthorizing FAA programs for five years, it provides members of the aviation industry the certainty needed to focus on improvements, undertake major projects, and operate most efficiently.
  2. Restores Competitiveness for the U.S. Aviation Industry: The aviation industry supports 11.3 million jobs and generates $1.5 trillion in economic activity. It’s an engine for our economy. But American manufacturers and developers are being held back by slow FAA certification times and convoluted bureaucracy that is stifling innovation. The FAA Reauthorization Act implements reforms and creates a new committee to address these issues, ensuring businesses in the American aviation industry can produce the most advanced products and compete in the global market. 
  3. Enhances Flight Experience and Safety for American Travelers: This bill prioritizes American travelers by increasing transparency and options for consumers. Through improved safety workforce training and stronger voluntary reporting programs, among other things, the bill will also ensure America continues to have the safest aviation system in the world.
  4. Strengthens Disaster Relief: The package includes the Disaster Recovery Reform Act, bipartisan legislation that reforms federal disaster relief programs and bolsters resources for disaster mitigation so that communities are prepared for hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, and other events. The bill focuses on preparing communities on the front end to lessen the impact of crises, aid recovery, and spend taxpayer dollars most efficiently.
  5. Responsibly Integrates Unmanned Aircraft Systems: America is leading the way in developing unmanned aircraft systems. This bill will modernize the FAA by implementing processes to evaluate and integrate this new technology safely into the National Airspace System, while continuing to allow for flexibility and innovation.  

This bill secures important, long-term investment in one of the cornerstones of our nation’s infrastructure. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) said it best: “Our aviation system is essential to our economy and to the American way of life.” 

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Tax Reform Lifting Outlooks for Consumers and Businesses

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act continues to lift consumers’ and businesses’ spirits when it comes to the future of our economy. That became even clearer this week, with the release of two indicators measuring confidence and economic outlook. This comes on top of lower jobless claims and recent projections for higher wages.  

Get the details on how tax reform is boosting economic confidence—which translates into real, positive changes for American workers and their communities:

  • 128.7: Consumer confidence climbed to this level in the Conference Board’s monthly index released this week. In the accompanying survey, Americans expressed optimism for economic conditions, including their own incomes, with the number of Americans expecting their incomes to decline falling to the lowest level since December 2000. As the Associated Press noted, “Analysts said the strength in confidence reflects a strong labor market with unemployment at a 17-year low, as well as the impact of the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts approved in December, which began showing up in workers’ paychecks earlier this year.”  
  • 48: Initial weekly jobless claims fell to 209,000 this week—their lowest point in 48 years. As Speaker Ryan put it yesterday, “This is yet another sign of a healthy job market and a growing economy.”
  • 98.5: Leading CEOs expressed the highest level of economic optimism in the 15-year history of Business Roundtable’s Economic Outlook Index. The reading for CEOs who planned to increase hiring jumped 22.8 points from last quarter to 98.5, and they projected increases in their companies’ capital spending. According to BRT CEO Josh Bolten: “Tax reform is already prompting more investment, jobs and increased wages and benefits for American workers.”
  • $1.2 trillion: The Congressional Budget Office estimates the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will grow wages by $1.2 trillion over the next decade. This, paired with newly lowered rates, means more take-home pay for hardworking Americans.

Thanks to the new tax law, our economic future continues to get brighter and brighter.

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Photos: Speaker Ryan’s Made-In-Wisconsin Business Tour

While Washington Democrats continue to deny the new tax law is helping middle-income families, Republicans continue to hear directly from American workers and businesses who are benefitting. Earlier this week, Speaker Ryan visited four made-in-Wisconsin businesses, located in the First District, to hear how the companies, and their workers, are benefitting from tax reform.

AMTEC—Janesville, WI

AMTEC provides our military with state-of-the-art equipment. Speaker Ryan stops to watch the assembly of various equipment components. 

Speaker Ryan talks with one of the AMTEC workers, who shared with the speaker memories of his prior visit to the company.

In his nearly 20 years in Congress, no company has ever taken the speaker up on his offer of pushing buttons on the machine. All of that changed when the speaker visited AMTEC. It may have taken a few tries, but with a little coaching, the speaker finally starts the machine.

 

Palmer Hamilton—Elkhorn, WI

Palmer Hamilton manufactures furniture for schools, libraries, and other commercial spaces. Speaker Ryan learns about the manufacturing process of table tops from CEO John Gardner.

Speaker Ryan looks through custom logo decals with Palmer Hamilton’s CEO.

Business leaders brief the speaker on how they’re already benefitting from tax reform and their work in local schools to promote jobs in manufacturing.

 

Vision Plastics—Delavan, WI

Vision Plastics, a family-owned, custom injection molding business, has already been able to purchase new equipment because of tax reform. Co-owners Craig and Jamie Hubertz discuss their plans to expand with Speaker Ryan.

Co-owner Craig Hubertz shows Speaker Ryan one of the products their company produces.

Vision Plastics produces components that contribute to LED lighting solutions. Speaker Ryan examines one of their products, in action.

 

Adams Electric—Elkhorn, WI

Speaker Ryan meets with leaders of Adams Electric to hear how their company is benefitting from the new tax law.

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Opportunity Zones: Help for Distressed Communities Is on the Way Thanks to Tax Reform

There’s a lot of good news when it comes tax reform—like how it’s helping families, driving momentum, and boosting small businesses nationwide. But there’s one key facet of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that you may not have heard as much about: Opportunity Zones—something Speaker Ryan has long fought for to reduce poverty and develop communities.

What are Opportunity Zones? In layman’s terms, they are just what their name implies—areas of the country in need of economic opportunity. By definition, they’re distressed communities identified by the states that qualify for private investment in exchange for tax incentives for said investors.

As the speaker recalled on The Hugh Hewitt Show recently, “When I was a young staffer working for Jack [Kemp], we worked on this idea called Enterprise Zones to have zero capital gains taxes on investments in poor areas. That was a dream of Jack’s his entire career. I’ve worked on it my entire career.” He also discussed this long sought-after win on Squawk Box: “[Opportunity] zones are now law of the land. So the critical component of our poverty fighting agenda, that’s now the law of the land.”

The law of the land, indeed. Following enactment as part of the tax bill, these zones are now being set up around the country. This month, the Treasury Department and the IRS announced the first round of Opportunity Zone designations for 18 states, including the speaker’s own stomping grounds of Wisconsin. Since that announcement, Opportunity Zones have been added in six additional states and U.S. territories.

Make no mistake: We are seeing great economic turnaround thanks to tax reform—but pockets of the country remain in desperate need of revitalization. As the New York Times put it, “In huge swaths of the country, the economic recovery has yet to arrive.” A 2017 study found that “52.3 million Americans live in economically distressed communities,” or low-income areas that qualify as designated by the Census. That’s a lot of untapped potential left on the sidelines simply because of their zip code.

Enter Opportunity Zones, which provide a tax incentive for investors to pour capital into these areas to help stimulate long-term growth. This new private investment will support a wide range of development activities—like entrepreneurship, charter schools, or job training—which in turn will lead to boosted economic growth and job creation.

As Speaker Ryan said last week, better empowering the individual will allow more Americans to “realize their own independence—and the economic and social benefits that come along with it.” By setting up Opportunity Zones in distressed communities nationwide, more people will be able to do just that.

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April in Photos: Running Through the Tape

As you may have heard, the Speaker announced last month that after nearly two decades in Congress, this session will be his last. After that, it was right back to business: constituent meetings, advancing the House’s legislative agenda, press conferences and interviews, business tours, and more. April also brought a visit from President Macron of France, who delivered an address to a joint meeting of Congress, and a United States Army Soldier’s Medal ceremony honoring a hero among us.

Here are nine photos that show some of our favorite moments from the month of April:

1. The Press Conference – Members of the media gather as Speaker Ryan announces his retirement at the end of his term.

2. The Constituent Meeting – Speaker Ryan shares a laugh with the Schaeffer family, who were visiting from Burlington, WI.

3. The Squawk Box Interview – Speaker Ryan sits down with CNBC’s Squawk Box during their live Tax Day show from the Capitol.

4. The Soldier’s Medal Presentation – Speaker Ryan congratulates Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) on receiving the Soldier’s Medal for Heroism from the United States Army. Rep. Wenstrup, a Colonel with the U.S. Army Reserve, received this award for his actions to save the life of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) during the shooting at the Congressional Baseball Game practice.  

5. Take Your Children To Work Day – Following his annual “Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day” press conference, Speaker Ryan takes a photo with the children of Capitol Hill reporters.

6. The Made-In-Wisconsin Business Tour – Speaker Ryan tours AMTEC, a Janesville, Wisconsin-based company, that provides our military with state-of-the-art equipment.

7. The Office Tour – Speaker Ryan gives Janesville, Wisconsin’s St. John Vianney 8th graders a tour of his office, including a stop on the balcony to see one of the best views in DC.

8. President Macron’s Address – Speaker Ryan welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron to the House Chamber for his address to a joint meeting of Congress.

9. The Southwest Airlines Employee Q&A – Joined by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, Speaker Ryan listens as workers share how they’re using their tax reform bonuses at the company’s headquarters in Dallas, TX.

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An Economy in Which Small Businesses Can Thrive

There’s good news this Small Business Week. According to a new report from Paychex, “Small business employees saw their wages grow last month at the strongest rate in more than two years.”

And there’s more:

  • Optimism among small business owners has risen for the past four quarters as measured by CNBC. It said in its survey release, “For the first time since CNBC and SurveyMonkey began taking the pulse of Main Street more than a year ago, a majority of small-business owners across the country say business conditions are ‘good.’”
  • In a Bank of America report published last week, 58 percent of small business owners said tax reform has been a “game-changer for small business overall,” and 63 percent said the new tax law makes them more optimistic about their business outlooks.

 The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has eased the tax burden on small businesses in a few ways: 

  • A new 20 percent tax deduction for qualified business income to support small business owners. 
  • Full and immediate expensing of capital expenditures like equipment. That translates into savings that can then be reinvested into the business and its workers.  
  • Simplified accounting rules to allow small businesses to operate on a cash flow basis, rather than dealing with complicated inventory accounting and capitalization requirements. 
  • Business owners will receive the same benefits as individual filers, like lower rates and a nearly doubled standard deduction. 

The updated tax system is having a meaningful impact—both by creating an economic climate where small businesses can thrive and giving individual owners the confidence to do so. Just last week, Speaker Ryan visited small businesses in his district, one of which has already started expanding because of tax reform.  

When these businesses do well, it means good things for our economy, beginning with job growth. Nearly two-thirds of the private-sector jobs created in our country are generated by small businesses. With a new tax code that supports entrepreneurship—rather than putting up barriers to it—these businesses and their owners can continue spreading the spirit of enterprise, creating jobs, and driving growth in our communities.

As House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) said this week, “The fact is, when small businesses are strong, America is strong. So, to the innovators, the risk-takers, and the opportunity creators, this week and every week we celebrate you.”

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May These Four Numbers Be With You

In a recent conversation with Ben Shapiro, here’s how Speaker Ryan described the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

“This takes a tax system that was the worst in the industrialized world, and gives us a tax system that we think is in the top three of the industrialized world’s tax systems. That means more jobs in America, more opportunities in America, businesses coming back to America, bringing capital back to America, expanding, and that is a phenomenally good thing.”

For all those phenomenally good things about tax reform, Democrats’ rhetoric about it has sounded like something from a spec script for a bad Star Wars sequel. ‘Armageddon.’ ‘Dark cloud.’ ‘Unpatriotic.’ ‘The end of the world.’

But here are some facts we learned just this week:

  • 3.9 percent: The nation’s unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since the Clinton administration. “The job market hasn’t been this good for a very long time,” CNN noted. “Economists expect that low unemployment will lead to increasingly big pay bumps for workers,” according to The New York Times. One analyst for a jobs site told The Washington Post: “We’ve seen great movement in jobs creation.”
  • 3.25 percent: Hourly wages for small business workers grew at an annual rate of 3.25 percent in April—the highest rate in more than two years, according to a new report. And optimism among small businesses is at record levels. “Tax reform has been described as a game-changer, and they’re investing back in their businesses, and you can see it,” a Bank of America official told USA TODAY.
  • 87 million: We are now tracking that in at least 48 states, and the District, utility bills already have or will go down because of tax reform. This means that more than 87 million customers across the country—so far—will save money on these bills. Another big win for consumers and taxpayers.
  • 27: On Thursday, the governor of New Hampshire nominated 27 areas of the state to be Opportunity Zones, joining dozens of governors who have already done the same. Part of the new tax law, Opportunity Zones bring help to economically distressed areas by providing tax incentives for private investment. “We definitely need new industry in town,” one thrift store volunteer in Franklin told New Hampshire Public Radio. “We have many storefronts that are empty.”

Indeed, tax reform is helping many middle-income families live long and prosper. (Nope, wait, wrong one, sorry.)

With the help of tax reform, the Force is strong with this economy. There you go. Thanks for reading.

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More Relief for Consumers and the Economy

This week, the House will move forward with our efforts to protect consumers from burdensome Obama-era regulations that hurt jobs, stifle growth, and diminish opportunity. Yes, it’s another repeal through the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Lucky number 16.  

“Can Harm the Very Consumers They Intend to Protect”

The House will take action on S.J.Res. 57, which would restore competition and fair lending for auto dealers that enable customers to indirectly finance their car payments. Specifically, the resolution would rescind a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) guidance that was based on a flawed assessment and written without examining how meddling in the auto lending marketplace could potentially raise borrowing costs for consumers. 

As a report from the House Financial Services Committee examining the guidance’s approach found, the rule is “a textbook example of how regulators that don’t understand business and economics can harm the very consumers they intend to protect.”

The Congressional Review Act

This type of relief is a meaningful component of our jobs and economic growth agenda. So far, the House has used the CRA to strike down 15 Obama-era regulations that were adding unnecessary layers of bureaucracy, hindering growth and competition. American Action Forum data shows that “projected savings from these resolutions will save $3.7 billion in total regulatory costs ($1.1 billion annually) and eliminate 4.2 million hours of paperwork.”

Before this Congress, the CRA had been used just once. Now, we are fully employing all the tools we have to keep the economy growing and relieve Americans of overregulation.

Our Economy Is Thriving

We have worked hard this Congress to jumpstart the economy—and it’s workingJoblessness is at a 17-year low; Americans, on average, claiming unemployment benefits is at the lowest level in 45 years; and confidence among businesses large and small is up, spurring investment and expansion.

The House is focused on continuing to create a regulatory environment that allows economic growth to reach its full potential. And with the passage of S.J.Res. 57, there will be one less costly regulation standing in the way.

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Speaker Ryan: ‘Americans Are Right to Feel Good about how Things Are Going’

Summary: Today, Speaker Ryan discussed the strong state of the economy—highlighting low unemployment and increased optimism among workers and businesses—and spoke about the workforce development agenda the House will keep moving forward to ensure workers are equipped with the skills needed to fill good jobs.      

Opening Statement:

“Remember just five months ago? Five months ago, Democrats were saying that tax reform would lead to literally ‘the end of the world.’ That’s an exact quote: This was going to be ‘the end of the world.’

“Don’t look now, but our economy is thriving.

“People are seeing more money in their paychecks, they’re seeing more money in their retirement accounts.

“Businesses are expanding and businesses are hiring. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 18 years.

“Hispanic unemployment is at the lowest level it has ever been. African-American unemployment is at the lowest level it has ever been. Wages are up.

“Americans are feeling more confident as well.

“There has been a surge in consumer confidence, a surge in housing confidence, small business optimism, and manufacturing optimism.

“Last week, I was in California’s Central Valley—up the road from Kevin—at a plant with David Valadao in his district.

“MEC: It’s a company that makes boom lifts and scissor lifts. It’s a classic small-town company making things right here in America. 

“MEC is on track to double their sales this year over last year.

“Already, they have awarded bonuses to all of their workers. They are now matching their 401(k) contributions. And they are planning on hiring more workers.

“This is the difference tax reform is making across the country.

“And tax reform is helping bring an end to years of economic uncertainty and stagnation.

“Now, we have got a lot more to do. Today, we’re taking action for more relief from burdensome regulations. That’s also a real tax on businesses and jobs and workers.

“We are working on reforms to get more people out of poverty and into the workforce. We need to make sure that workers have the right skills they need to get a job and a good career.

“Right now, our economy is thriving. Americans are right to feel good about how things are going. And we have not seen those kinds of optimism statistics in a long, long time.

“So we are going to keep pushing.

“We are going to keep pushing to close the skills gap, to close the opportunity gap, to make sure that all these jobs that are being made available are being filled with workers who are getting great careers and good lives, and going from poverty and welfare to work, so that they can find their own vision of the American idea.

“That is what our Better Way agenda was all about.

“It is what we are in the middle of executing and implementing right now. And we’re really excited to see the great economic news that comes as a result of all these things that we’ve been working on.”

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Listen: Speaker Ryan Talks House Agenda, News of the Day on WI Radio

Today, Speaker Ryan joined Milwaukee’s The Steve Scaffidi Show to discuss the news of the day—like North Korea releasing three American citizens and President Trump’s dismantling of the Iran Deal—and the House’s agenda going forward. Listen to the interview here and check out excerpts below.

On North Korea:

Speaker Ryan: “The President’s pressure campaign against North Korea has been working, is working, and I think it gave the North Koreans, Kim Jong-un in particular, it made him pause and think, ‘is this the path I want to do down or not?’ We’ve got a ways to go here and the North Koreans are notorious for not necessarily keeping their ends of bargains, but I think the positive developments we have had, including this piece of news today, really is because the President put a lot of pressure on this regime and made them think twice about their activities.”

On Iran:

Speaker Ryan: “Well, I think the risk of staying in the deal was that we we’re going to bless, effectively, Iran eventually becoming a nuclear power. And the mistakes of the deal were that they were more or less silent on all the other things that Iran was doing, with ballistic missiles, with all their malign activities, meaning funding proxy wars around the region to try and topple governments. And that is basically what Iran has been doing.”

Speaker Ryan: “So, I think, you know, obviously we—myself included—the Republicans, we did not like the deal to begin with. We thought it had enormous holes and gaps. What I wish our allies would have done is work with us within the deal to make it stronger, tighter, and more effective to truly prevent Iran from ever getting a nuclear weapon.”

On entitlement reform:

Speaker Ryan: “That’s the challenge here. If you want to deal with the debt, you’ve got to deal with the drivers of the debt. And the drivers of the debt are our entitlement programs. And the point that I keep making to people…is: We can do a better job of meeting the mission of these programs—health and retirement security for all Americans—without jeopardizing that mission. But we have to reform these programs so that that mission is better fulfilled. We can do a better job of making these goals be realized without bankrupting the country, without driving us into a mountain of debt that our kids can’t get over.

Speaker Ryan: “. . . . The good news is because of innovation, and our free enterprise system, and using the power of choice and competition in health care, you can actually make good on the mission of these programs and avoid bankrupting the country at the same time.” 

 

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