U.S. Sen. John Cornyn praised Texas’ strength and resilience in his remarks to the 84th Texas Rose Festival Distinguished Men’s Luncheon on Friday, and pledged that Congress would work diligently on tax reform.
“Hurricane Harvey wasn’t a typical hurricane, which is a wind event; it was a rain event,” said Cornyn. “We got up to 50 inches of rain in some areas of Houston. And 88 people lost their lives. The estimated cost of recovery is as much as $190 billion.”
In Congress, he said, the Texas delegation is “working hard with our colleagues to ensure everyone is treated fairly.”
But Texans responded to adversity like Texans, Cornyn said.
“Texans didn’t wait around for the federal government to show up with a check,” he said. “They didn’t even necessarily wait around for the state. One of the differences between Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Harvey was the response of neighbor helping neighbor. Even the Cajun Navy came over to help. Strong citizens are built inside strong communities. They’re not a function of government.”
But government can help clear the way for American ingenuity and talent to shine, Cornyn told the gathering. Tax reform could help restore America’s energy and optimism.
“President Barack Obama called for tax reform in 2011,” Cornyn said. “President Trump has called our tax code a relic, a colossal barrier to growth. Tax reform doesn’t have to be partisan, and that’s what gives me hope, even in a very divided Washington D.C. The benefits of tax reform will benefit all Americans.”
But it won’t be easy, he added.
“There’s an army of lobbyists who come to Washington to fight to maintain their privileges,” Cornyn said. “We need to be ready for some of the typical demagoguery that always comes out. You’re going to hear that we only want to cut taxes on the rich. Then you’ll hear from people who are suddenly concerned about deficits. But one of the things we’ll talk about is the dynamism that will take place in the U.S. economy when we let people keep more of their own money.”
And corporate tax reform will be at the center of that, the senator said.
“The high corporate tax rate is one of the most self-destructive things about our tax code,” he said. “Corporations don’t pay taxes, people do. And now, corporations that make money abroad have to pay taxes twice if they want to bring that money home to invest here. It shouldn’t surprise us that they decide to keep it overseas. This is a self-inflicted wound. We need to change the incentives.”
Finally, Cornyn paid tribute to U.S. Army Spc. Alex Missildine, the Robert E. Lee High School graduate who was killed in Iraq by an improvised explosive device on Oct. 1.
“Alex Missildine was taken from us far too soon,” he said. “Word of Alex spread from the Piney Woods to the halls of Washington.”