Chairman Black Opening Statement at Tax Reform Conference Meeting

As a conferee for tax reform, House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black offered remarks during today’s meeting.

See text below as prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon. It’s a pleasure to be here with my colleagues from both chambers for this important discussion about H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Our conversation today in this conference committee meeting represents an important moment for the American people.

It’s yet another essential step in the right direction.

And it’s a moment that reminds us to think back on how far we’ve come and how close we are to delivering much-needed tax relief for hardworking, middle-class Americans.

During my seven years in the House serving on the Ways and Means Committee, we’ve studied, considered and outlined the sorts of reform that could provide real benefits to the American people.

Following last year’s election, we knew this was our year to finally make tax reform a reality.

We’ve been preparing a long time for this day, and I am grateful for the president’s support of our work every step of the way.

Earlier this fall, I was especially pleased when both chambers agreed to the same budget, which marked a major step forward with our shared priority of once-in-a-generation tax reform.

Yes, we are still working out our differences between the House and Senate tax bills, but I am encouraged that we have always agreed on the same principles.

First and foremost, we all recognize the need to do something about the heavy tax burden weighing down hardworking Americans and holding back job creators.

We also recognize that the tax code is too complicated and must be simplified.

Through tax reform, we can help low and middle-class Americans see more in their hard-earned paychecks.

We can empower entrepreneurs and small businesses to continue opening, operating and expanding on Main Street.

We can make it easier for everyone to navigate the needlessly burdensome tax system.

While the numbers understandably vary between the House and Senate-passed versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, both promise the economic jolt that our country badly needs.

For example, for an average middle-class family of four, the House-passed bill would mean a tax cut of nearly $1,200.

And in my home state of Tennessee, the House-passed bill would create more than 18,000 new jobs and allow families to see a nearly $2,000 increase in wages.

I mention this to remind everyone that we are talking about real money for real people.

Despite what the critics may say, this is not just a tax cut for the wealthy. It is not a tax increase on the poor. And it is not an attack on the middle class.

The truth is that our conservative tax reform delivers tax relief at every income level and protects more hard-earned dollars from taxes.

As we work through these negotiations, I am confident we can sort out our differences and come up with a final bill that rings true to the principles we all agree upon.

It’s been more than three decades since our nation’s tax system has been modernized, and this is the year we change that record.

I am honored to be part of this historic tax reform effort.

With that, I yield back.