Morgan Griffith: Death and taxes

morgan griffithDeath

There’s a saying about not making the perfect the enemy of the good. I thought of that saying recently when I voted for the Senate’s version of “right to try” on May 22.

Regular readers of this column know that I am a staunch supporter of the concept of “right to try,” which would allow patients facing life-threatening illnesses to access experimental treatments. Throughout my time in Congress, I have introduced bills to implement it at the federal level.

Recently, vocal support from the Trump Administration made the possibility of “right to try” becoming federal law more likely than ever. I worked with my colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee and other supporters of the idea in the House of Representatives to craft a bill that we believed would give “right to try” the best opportunity for successful use.

I believe the bill we produced had the most promise. It put into law the right of terminal patients to attempt new treatments at their own risk, but it also included patient protections to promote the successful use of this right. The House passed the bill in March by a vote of 267-149. Thirty-five Democrats supported it.

The Senate had passed its own “right to try” legislation last year by unanimous consent. I did not think the quality of the Senate bill matched the House’s version. Since “right to try” passed the Senate without opposition last year, I believed we would be able to work out a compromise that would clear both chambers. In the Senate, however, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) blocked the way to sending such a measure to President Trump’s desk.

Ultimately, we had to pass the Senate version to enact “right to try” this Congress. While I still believe the bill could have been better, I voted for it. Improvements to the law can be made later, but desperately ill patients can get another chance for treatment now.

Taxes

Questions about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act continue, as I learned in a recent telephone town hall meeting from several callers.

Since the tax cut bill was signed into law last December, good news has continued to pour in. Tax reform energized the economy and expanded people’s wallets.

The provisions for individual taxpayers reflect the belief that Americans know better what to do with their own money than Washington. They should be able to save or spend as they see fit. For most people, tax reform means:

  • Individual and married couple rates are lowered.
  • The standard deduction is increased from $6,500 to $12,000 ($13,000 to $24,000 for families).
  • The Child Tax Credit is expanded from $1,000 to $2,000.

Overall, more than ninety percent of the Ninth District will see more in take-home pay. Many have already seen larger paychecks as the Federal Government withholds less, and next year their total due to the Internal Revenue Service will be lower.

Tax reform also aimed to make America better for business. Under the old code, American businesses faced higher tax rates than in the other developed economies that we compete with. This “double taxation” meant companies were taxed on money they earned overseas and taxed again if they tried to bring their profits back to the United States. If they left their money in the foreign country and invested their money there, they didn’t pay the high second tax.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act put a stop to a tax code that punished businesses for operating here. It altered the world’s highest developed nation corporate tax rate to a competitive 21% and encouraged companies to bring money back to invest right here in the United States.

As a result, companies have announced new hires, wage increases, bonuses, and investments here in our country. Tax reform is powering prosperity for Americans at all levels.

In the Ninth District, I’ve heard from constituents who get larger paychecks, as well as from businesses offering their workers more in pay and benefits and expanding operations. People feel more optimistic about their financial well-being and businesses are more confident in their outlook.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is delivering for the American people.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.

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