Wicker Points to the Lasting Impact of Tax Reform, Defense Bills

With Landmark Laws, Congress Delivers Results

October 29, 2018

Just a few days ago, President Trump signed the “America’s Water Infrastructure Act,” adding it to the growing list of laws enacted by this Congress.  The legislation continues Congress’s practice of passing a major water infrastructure package every two years.  It also demonstrates a commitment by lawmakers and the President to ensure Americans have water infrastructure to compete in trade, along with flood protection, safe drinking water, and wastewater systems. 

Producing laws that strengthen our national security and benefit American workers has been the hallmark of the Republican-led 115th Congress.  Month after month, good ideas have turned into good policies that have gone on to win bipartisan support.  The outcome is an impressive record of legislative victories, with still more time left for Congress to take action.

Tax Reform’s Ripple Effect 

A particularly historic moment happened late last year, when Congress passed the first major overhaul of our tax code in more than 30 years.  At the center of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” is the basic idea that by making our economy more competitive around the globe, we can allow Americans to keep more of what they earn. 

Since the law’s enactment, an overwhelming majority of American workers have seen higher take-home pay.  What’s more, the benefits of tax reform are multiplying.  Energy costs have been reduced, manufacturing has increased, and businesses are giving back even more to their communities.  The tax reform package also put a long-awaited end to Obamacare’s unpopular individual mandate, which forced Americans to buy costly health insurance with fewer options.

Policy Wins for Our Troops

Equally significant is this Congress’s determination to reverse past defense cuts, which have hurt military strength.  As our troops’ resources have waned – reducing training and leaving maintenance needs unmet – potential adversaries like China and Russia have increased their efforts to gain a military advantage in critical parts of the world.

Congress is now aggressively addressing these gaps with policies that prioritize the rebuilding of our military and a reigniting of the defense industrial base around the country.  Those policies include a two-year budget agreement that significantly increased budget caps on defense funding.  Lawmakers followed up on the two-year agreement by passing timely defense authorization and appropriations bills to fund the military and set policy for the Pentagon. 

Our efforts have led to substantial gains in readiness – more training time, more exercises, and reduced maintenance backlogs – and modernization through new equipment.  Congress has given the Pentagon the resources and stability it needs to begin executing the priority missions identified in the new National Security Strategy set forth by Defense Secretary James Mattis. 

I am especially pleased that my bipartisan “SHIPS Act,” enacted in last year’s defense authorization bill, has played an instrumental role in accelerating the buildup of our naval fleet.  We are actively working toward the 355-ship fleet that our military commanders need.

A Commitment to Results 

These two major policy highlights will benefit our economy and national security for many years to come.  This Congress has also achieved many other policy victories that will help improve the lives of Americans.  Congress has enacted laws to fight our country’s opioid crisis, improve our veterans’ health-care options, and remove the regulations that stifle growth.  Lawmakers have taken action to support our communities suffering from hurricane devastation, and we are adding tough sanctions on bad actors like Iran, Russia, and North Korea. 

The list goes on, and I am confident it will continue to grow as the 115th Congress finishes its term this year.  There is no time to waste, and the momentum is strong for results.