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Brady Briefing: Trump’s Supreme Court, the NATO Summit, Expanding HSAs, Holding China Accountable

USA Daily Times

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Washington, July 16, 2018 | comments

The Brady Briefing is a regular feature of USA Daily Times.

By U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX)

Last week the President announced his pick to replace Justice Kennedy for the United States Supreme Court. Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a very strong choice, just as Neil Gorsuch was. He is a highly qualified originalist with an exemplary record. I have no doubt he’ll strictly adhere to the Constitution and uphold the rule of law, rather than try to make law from the bench. It’s exciting to watch President Trump transform our courts through these nominations and keep his promise to appoint judges with a deep respect for the Constitution. I look forward to his swift confirmation.

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President Trump met with other NATO leaders in Brussels last week and made the strong case that the United States is a committed ally to European nations, but that it’s far past time for the other countries to pay their fair share towards defense spending. The truth is that since the Cold War ended, the percentage that NATO members contribute continues to wane. This poses a serious risk when it comes to Russia. Meanwhile, America has kept our promises. NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg agrees and said this after the summit:

“All Allies have heard President Trump’s message loud and clear. We understand that this American president is very serious about defense spending. And this is having a clear impact.”

He also declared in a recent editorial:

“This week, Washington rolled out a plan for further substantial increases in US presence in Europe. In fact, since coming to office, the Trump administration has increased funding for the US presence in Europe by 40%. The last US battle tank left Europe in 2013, but now they are back in the form of a whole new US armored brigade.”

There has been progress made when it comes to European nations beefing up their defense spending, but there is still more work to do. I’m grateful for the President’s leadership on the world stage and his commitment to equity when it comes to funding NATO defense.

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Last week the House Ways and Means Committee, which I lead, debated eleven bills that expand access to health savings accounts. These bipartisan bills will provide Americans with access to consumer directed health care while ensuring we keep premiums low. These bills allow for more choice and financial assistance to help Americans save and plan for their health care needs. Health care reforms should empower individuals and families to make decisions for themselves based on what best fits their needs, wants, and budget – not Washington’s – and I’m proud to support these pieces of legislation.

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The President is right to hold China accountable for their unfair trade practices and I continue to urge him to approach this in a way that does not punish American workers and businesses. Despite the serious economic consequences of ever-increasing tariffs, right now there are no serious trade discussions occurring between the U.S. and China and no plans for trade negotiations anytime soon. I believe it’s important for President Trump and China’s President Xi to meet and begin crafting an agreement that levels the playing field between China and the U.S. for local farmers, workers, and businesses and I have encouraged them to take this important step.

Kevin Brady is Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

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