Outlines Priorities as Top Republican for the 118th Congress
Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) will continue to serve as the top Republican of the powerful Senate Finance Committee in the 118th Congress. The Senate Finance Committee oversees more than 50 percent of the federal budget, and Crapo’s position gives 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 foreign trade agreements.
“I am grateful for the continued opportunity to serve as the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee,” said Crapo. “My colleagues’ confidence and support are deeply encouraging as we get started on our important work ahead to address our national debt, preserve and build on pro-growth tax policies, improve our global competitiveness in trade deals and expand access to affordable, quality health care.
“With trillions of dollars in new spending and programs approved over the last two years, strong oversight of the executive branch and federal agencies and departments within the Committee’s jurisdiction will be key. Hardworking taxpayers deserve transparency and accountability of federal agencies.
“Although partisan debates often dominate big national issues before the Finance Committee, Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and I secured several substantial bipartisan achievements during the last congress. I look forward to my continued partnership with him and colleagues of both parties as we work to deliver meaningful results for the American people.”
With American workers and businesses continuing to face crippling inflation and supply-chain challenges, it is critical that our tax system promotes U.S. jobs, manufacturing and higher wages for hardworking families. I remain committed to preserving Republicans’ pro-growth tax policies, and continuing to build on them, to create a competitive environment for U.S. businesses and ensure Americans have access to high-paying jobs.
In 2017, Congress enacted comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform for the first time in more than 30 years. After two years of Democratic control, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) remains intact, and with good reason. TCJA led to one of the strongest economies in generations: unemployment dropped to historic lows, economic gains flowed to all demographic groups and income levels, and American businesses reported record R&D investment. TCJA lowered the corporate tax rate while significantly broadening the base, including by enacting the first global minimum tax of its kind and putting an end to corporate inversions. Today, corporate tax revenues are at record highs, both nominally and as a share of the gross domestic product.
While preserving a competitive rate and broader base will remain a priority, it is also important that we examine TCJA policies and explore additional opportunities to promote growth, increase investment, and encourage research and development in the United States. I look forward to working with my colleagues, in a bipartisan manner where possible, to develop fiscally responsible proposals. I will also continue to oppose changes to our international tax system that would make U.S. companies less competitive, or subject them to discriminatory or extraterritorial taxation, ultimately resulting in fewer jobs for Americans. I will also continue to press the Administration for meaningful congressional engagement regarding any ongoing international tax discussions.
Finance Committee Republicans will also be exercising strong oversight of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Partisan legislation enacted in 2022 gave the IRS an unprecedented stream of multi-year supplemental funding, totaling almost $80 billion. Given its taxpayer-focused mission, the IRS must wisely steward all funding it receives and ensure taxpayers continually see vast improvements in service delivery and tax law administration--areas the IRS has unfortunately underperformed in over the last three-plus years, despite receiving billions of additional funding during the period. I look forward to working with my colleagues to develop useful guardrails to hold the IRS to its obligations and commitments.
Americans succeed when given the freedom to compete and the entire country benefits from smart trade policies. In the 118th Congress, I will continue to press the Biden Administration to open foreign markets to America’s workers, farmers and businesses.
Expanding opportunities through market access is critical for U.S. national security. While China continues to negotiate preferential access for its products and services around the world, the United States is seen to be standing on the sidelines. Effective trade agreements--those that expand market access and reduce tariffs--help Americans and disadvantage China. The renewal of important trade programs like the Generalized System of Preferences and the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, which work together to expand opportunities to diversify our trade with friendly countries, remains a top priority. It is past time for the United States to resume global leadership on trade, rather than ceding it to China. We must actively craft policies that create the employment and growth opportunities the American people deserve.
We must also hold our trade partners accountable for carrying out our existing trade agreements. In the last Congress, I successfully pressed for Mexico to comply with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and to allow the importation of Idaho potatoes. Yet, more must be done. Regrettably, the Biden Administration’s record on trade enforcement is lacking, with no progress on a number of issues, including barriers to U.S. exports of biotech crops and energy. In fact, rather than enforcing U.S. rights, the Biden Administration last year chose to waive the rights under the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights of America’s innovators who developed the COVID-19 vaccines. As Ranking Member, I will continue to fight for full enforcement of U.S. rights under all of its various trade agreements.
As working families confront ongoing inflation and other economic pressures, accessing high-quality and affordable health care remains a challenge for far too many Americans. From frontline provider shortages and rising costs, to burdensome regulations and red tape, our health care programs continue to struggle to meet the needs of patients, taxpayers, job creators and clinicians. We need solutions that improve outcomes, increase consumer choices and curb excessive costs.
At the end of the last Congress, I worked with colleagues across the aisle to advance a package of meaningful health care reforms, providing enhanced quality and access while upholding fiscal responsibility. This legislation, which reduced the deficit by billions of dollars, extended telehealth coverage for seniors and workers with high-deductible health plans for two years, providing a viable bipartisan bridge to long-term reforms, which we should undertake this Congress. We also enacted a range of mental health policies that will increase care options for patients, particularly in rural communities, and will help to combat the growing physician burnout that has led many to close up shop or retire in recent years. The enactment of these and numerous other pivotal mental health provisions marked the culmination of two years of bipartisan work by the Finance Committee.
As we enter the 118th Congress, we have an obligation to build on these accomplishments with patient-centered, well-targeted and financially sustainable policies that improve health care delivery for Americans. This means securing lasting telehealth access for seniors and families, refining Medicare payment systems to strengthen our provider workforce and reward value, accelerating seniors’ access to life-saving medical breakthroughs, and promoting state flexibilities to improve patient outcomes and lower costs. We should look to success stories like Medicare Advantage as models, with the capacity to provide more options and benefits for seniors. As this Committee demonstrated last year, we can achieve these goals while increasing efficiencies, protecting taxpayers and prolonging program solvency.
As Ranking Member, I also plan to exercise assertive oversight of the executive branch. Effective oversight will prove particularly essential for the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, which codified government price controls that will likely result in hundreds fewer new treatments in the years to come, along with higher launch prices for new drugs, a global gain for the Chinese Communist Party, and a far less competitive American medicine marketplace. As the federal bureaucracy moves forward with these price control programs, I will work to mitigate the harms the law risks imposing, in addition to ensuring fair and transparent processes that benefit both current and future American patients.
Congress and the Biden Administration must work together to promote fiscal responsibility, reigning in inflationary and destructive deficit spending in order to put the United States’ finances on a sustainable path. If not addressed, the growth of our national debt and rising interest rates will leave us with fewer resources to preserve our national defense, maintain our social safety net and invest in future economic growth. America’s long-term fiscal gap is unsustainable. We have a responsibility to our children and grandchildren to leave them a government and an economy that are on sound financial footing.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress provided an unprecedented sum of relief to the American public. While much of that relief benefitted Americans hard-hit by the pandemic and the associated economic disruption, it is becoming increasingly clear that much of the aid was stolen through fraud. Congress must conduct oversight of this effort to promote accountability within the agencies that administer the programs, promote state and federal prosecution of bad actors, and put safeguards in place to ensure that future programs benefit only eligible individuals.
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 118th Congress, including as Chief Deputy Republican Whip.