Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas. (Photo: AP) Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas. (Photo: AP)

Welcome back to Human Capital! This week starts with Democrats unveiling a new $3 trillion stimulus package, but Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, ranking Republican on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, isn’t having it.

What Brady does want to see: a reopening of the economy and quick remedies to help Americans shore up their retirement savings.

“I don’t know if there will be a fifth emergency aid bill,” Brady said on a Tuesday Zoom webcast held by the American Council for Capital Formation. “I know this [Democratic plan] is not the way to go about it.”

Keep scrolling to read more on Brady’s take on how the economic reopening should unfold as well as his support for a Retirement 2.0 package.

The Democratic aid bill, slated for a Friday House vote, includes such measures as making expenses covered by forgiven Paycheck Protection Loan funds tax-deductible, providing student loan aid, making an additional round of $1,200 payments, extending federal unemployment benefits and providing employers tax breaks for keeping workers on the payroll, along with suspending the cap on state and local tax, or SALT, deductions for two years.

Brady, however, argued the bill is “filled with far-left proposals that have no chance of becoming law.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill “is a recipe for a prolonged recession,” he said in a statement, “with virtually nothing to get the jobless back to work, while Democratic special interests and millionaires get a windfall.”

The priority right now, according to Brady: “Our main economic focus has to be making sure those 30 million Americans who’ve lost their jobs temporarily don’t lose their jobs permanently.”

Reopening the economy “is about helping our businesses rebuild their workforce and helping them remake their workplaces so that it’s safe for both workers and customers,” Brady said on the webcast.

Before rushing into another “spending spree,” Brady said, the challenge is ensuring that the $2.5 trillion or more that Congress has allocated gets “to the communities and health care providers that we [Congress] intended to help.”

Retirement Savings Boost

As to retirement policy, “a lot of people have seen their retirement savings significantly depleted because of this” pandemic, Brady said. “It’s important that we help them replenish it.”

Brady said he’s currently hashing over these remedies with House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass.:

  • Increasing the limits on retirement savings over the next year or so;
  • Raising the total amount that workers can save as well as the total amount employers can help employees save;
  • Eliminating the age requirement so that every worker can make catch-up provisions over the next several years to replenish their retirement accounts.

On health care: “We think we can make some changes to provide more flexibility for the health savings accounts and the flexible savings accounts to allow them to be increased over the next year,” Brady said.

Neal wants to do Retirement 2.0. “I agree,” Brady said.

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