Legislative Update

This week, the House and Senate passed the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the bill now heads to the White House for President Trump’s signature. For 31 years, hard-working Americans have been waiting for a fairer, simpler tax code, and this bill delivers just that.

A few highlights:

  • Lowers individual tax rates to 0%, 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37% so people can keep more of their hard-earned money
  • Nearly doubles the standard deduction from $12,700 to $24,000 for a married couple and $6,350 to $12,000 for an individual
  • Still allows individuals to write-off state and local taxes up to $10,000 (just like current law)
  • Expands the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000
  • Eliminates Obamacare’s harmful individual mandate penalty tax

Immediately after Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, businesses started announcing bonuses, increased wages, and additional investments in the American economy. This legislation will create a new era of economic prosperity for our country and I’m proud to support it.

Earlier this month, the House passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which allows law-abiding concealed carry permit holders to carry across state lines. Just as our First Amendment rights don’t stop at state lines, our Second Amendment rights shouldn’t either. This bill also strengthened the National Criminal Background Check System by developing new agency requirements for reporting criminal activity. These new requirements will help ensure that criminals don’t get their hands on guns.

I recently learned of allegations of criminal behavior at the Temple VA Medical Center. These disturbing allegations included forcing veterans to complete construction work on supervisors’ homes, abuse of power, and mistreatment of our heroes. I instantly demanded answers from VA leadership about these claims. Central Texas VA Director Christopher Sandles and I are working arm-in-arm to right these wrongs and make sure this never happens again to our warriors.

I joined my colleagues in the House in introducing the CERTIFY Heroes Act, which will allow our men and women in uniform to use their tuition assistance program to participate in certification, licensing and credentialing programs so they can get well-paying jobs once their time in the service is complete. Not everyone wants or needs a four-year degree, so this legislation will open up the doors for our military to gain skills off the battlefield that will help them be successful.

As we approach the holidays, I’d like to wish you and your family, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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