Issue: Economy and Jobs

Walorski Votes to Help Families Save for Retirement

Walorski Votes to Help Families Save for Retirement

House Passes Bipartisan Legislation to Help Workers and Small Businesses Save More and Earlier for Retirement

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today voted for bipartisan legislation to make it easier for small businesses to set up retirement plans for employees and help workers save more and earlier for retirement. The House passed H.R. 1994, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019, by a vote of 417 to 3.

“Workers are more likely to save for retirement if their employer offers a retirement plan, but small businesses face significant hurdles to making these plans available,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “The bipartisan SECURE Act will make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement plans so workers can start saving earlier and save more for their future. It’s disappointing that partisan politics got in the way of including a key provision to help families pay for the costs of homeschooling, but I’m hopeful we can continue building on the reforms in this bill to help Hoosier families thrive.”

BACKGROUND

The SECURE Act, which builds on reforms Republicans passed twice in the 115th Congress, would:

  • Make it easier for small businesses to set up retirement plans for their employees;
  • Gives employers the flexibility to tailor retirement plans to best fit the needs of their employees;
  • Allows Americans to save longer by removing the age limit for contributing to IRAs, and increases the minimum age for required withdrawals from 70.5 to 72;
  • Encourages younger Americans to save earlier;
  • Allows families to take penalty-free withdrawals from their retirement accounts for the birth or adoption of a child;
  • Fixes a technical error in order to lower taxes for Gold Star families.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Statement on Removal of Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on Canada and Mexico

Walorski Statement on Removal of Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on Canada and Mexico

Trump Administration Announces Agreement to Lift Section 232 Tariffs and Retaliatory Measures, Paving Way for USMCA

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), who has led the charge for relief from Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs and retaliatory measures, today released the following statement after the Trump administration announced an agreement with Canada and Mexico to remove the tariffs and retaliation:

“This is great news for American manufacturers, farmers, workers, and families. The agreement with Canada and Mexico to lift steel and aluminum tariffs and retaliation without quotas will allow the U.S. to better target China’s unfair trade practices and pave the way for the USMCA.

“I’m grateful to President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for fulfilling their pledge to resolve this issue so we can move full steam ahead on a modernized trade agreement with two of our closest trading partners. I look forward to working together to finalize a great deal for the American people.”

BACKGROUND

Walorski has repeatedly urged the Trump administration to reach an agreement with Canada and Mexico to remove steel and aluminum tariffs and retaliatory measures. In December, she led a bipartisan letter signed by 13 members of the Ways and Means Committee asking U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to make resolving this issue a top priority. Tariffs and retaliation have harmed U.S. manufacturers and farmers, including many in Indiana’s 2nd District.

Walorski Statement on Removal of Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on Canada and Mexico 1

Congresswoman Walorski and Ambassador Lighthizer discussed tariffs and USMCA ahead of today’s announcement.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Statement on Auto Tariff Delay

Walorski Statement on Auto Tariff Delay

Recently Led Bipartisan Warning Against Costly Tariffs on Cars and Auto Parts

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after the White House announced a six-month delay in deciding whether to impose Section 232 tariffs on automobiles and automotive parts:

“President Trump’s decision not to impose auto tariffs in the coming days comes as a relief to millions of American workers and families who would bear the cost of a massive tax hike on cars and auto parts. I support the president’s goal of ensuring a level playing field for U.S. businesses and workers, but auto tariffs would be devastating to manufacturers in my district and across Indiana that make cars, RVs, auto parts, and more. Moving forward, the administration should make the Section 232 national security investigation report public and should not take any action that would threaten our nation’s strong economic momentum.”

BACKGROUND

Walorski has repeatedly called on the Trump administration not to put American jobs and economic growth at risk with costly auto tariffs. Last week, Walorski led a bipartisan group of 159 members of Congress in urging Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow and President Trump not to impose auto tariffs.

In February, Walorski introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Trade Security Act, which would reassert Congressional authority over trade and tariff policy by reforming Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The bill would also redesignate national security threat assessments for Section 232 tariffs to the Department of Defense.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski, Lipinski, Kelly, Peterson Introduce Employee Flexibility Act

Walorski, Lipinski, Kelly, Peterson Introduce Employee Flexibility Act

Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill Would Restore Traditional 40-Hour Definition of Full-Time Employment Under Obamacare

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) today introduced the Employee Flexibility Act (H.R. 2782), bipartisan legislation would provide relief to middle-income families by restoring the traditional 40-hour work week under the Affordable Care Act. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

“The redefinition of full-time employment under Obamacare is hurting workers who want to earn more money by picking up extra hours or trading shifts, and it’s placing unnecessary burdens on our Main Street job creators,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “The Employee Flexibility Act will bring relief to hardworking Hoosiers by ensuring they have flexibility in the hours they work each week. This bipartisan, commonsense bill will also give businesses the certainty they need to expand, invest in our communities, and create more jobs.”

“Most Americans will tell you that a full-time workweek is 40 hours, not 30,” Congressman Lipinski said. “Changing the law to keep middle class families from having to make the painful choice of being forced to live with less or finding another part-time job to make up the difference is just common sense. Thanks to Congresswoman Walorski and my colleagues for their leadership on this bipartisan bill.”

“Obamacare created a lot of problems for American workers, including its definition of full-time employment at 29 and a half hours,” Congressman Kelly said. “Employers are required to provide health insurance to employees who qualify as full time, so many workers employed by small businesses are having trouble picking up extra hours to make ends meet. The Employee Flexibility Act, of which I am a proud co-author, would restore the 40-hour work week to help workers and ease the burden on businesses!”

“This legislation restores the traditional definition of a full time job and would benefit employers who seek to have both full and part time employees,” Congressman Peterson said.

“We thank our own Congresswoman Jackie Walorski for her leadership on reestablishing the 40-hour workweek to help hard-working Hoosiers and Indiana small business community,” said Mark McDonnell, founder and CEO of LaSalle Hospitality Group. “Countless employees love restaurants because they offer flexible, part-time work. These employees may also be going to school, raising a family, or pursuing other aspirations. But current laws restrict a variable workforce and inhabit an employee’s ability to manage their own schedule. Additionally, most accounting systems weren’t designed to accommodate the two different full-time designations businesses must operate under. This makes administration a nightmare and the added costs affect restaurants’ hiring and expansion plans. We appreciate Rep. Walorski’s efforts to introduce and advance the bipartisan Employee Flexibility Act.”

“On behalf of Ben’s Soft Pretzels, a mission-driven organization with 76 bakeries in 10 states, we thank Representatives Jackie Walorski and Dan Lipinski for introducing the ‘Employee Flexibility Act,’” said Brian Krider, co-founder and COO of Ben’s soft Pretzels. “Our employees and the communities we serve are our greatest asset and we support federal legislation to expand both scheduling flexibility and opportunities for growth. We strongly support commonsense, bipartisan legislation to enact a 40-hour per week threshold to determine a full-time employee.”

BACKGROUND

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, requires employers with more than 50 full-time equivalent workers to offer health insurance to full-time employees or face a penalty. The law defines full-time status as 30 hours of work per week, significantly below the traditional standard of 40 hours, as defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Under the standard 40-hour definition of a work week, hourly employees had more flexibility to pick up hours or trade shifts with their co-workers. Since the implementation of the 30-hour threshold, variable-hour and part-time employees have lost the flexibility to earn more money by adding or trading shifts.

The bipartisan, bicameral Employee Flexibility Act would provide flexibility to employees and relief to small businesses by changing the definition of a full-time employee under the ACA to 40 hours per week, putting it back in line with the widely-used traditional definition. The same legislation previously passed the House in 2014 and 2015.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Leads Bipartisan Letter Signed by 159 Members of Congress Warning Against Auto Tariffs

Walorski Leads Bipartisan Letter Signed by 159 Members of Congress Warning Against Auto Tariffs

Bipartisan Group Urges Trump Administration Not to Implement Section 232 Tariffs on Cars and Auto Parts

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) today led a bipartisan group of 159 members of Congress in urging Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow and President Trump not to impose costly tariffs that could harm the auto industry.

“We are convinced that the products hard-working Americans in the auto sector design, build, sell, and service are not a threat to our national security. We strongly urge you to advise the President against imposing trade restrictions that could harm the auto sector and the American economy,” wrote the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers. “American auto manufacturers, parts suppliers and retailers, dealers, and vehicle service providers have not asked for and do not need protection. Tariffs on autos will raise prices for American consumers and lower demand, ultimately leading to decreased U.S. production, investment and employment.”

“We urge you to do everything you can to avoid trade restrictions that would negatively impact the U.S. auto sector and undermine our economic security,” the members concluded.

Walorski has repeatedly urged the Trump administration not to put American jobs and economic growth at risk by imposing costly auto tariffs. In July 2018, Walorski led a bipartisan letter signed by 149 members of Congress warning Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross against the negative impact of section 232 tariffs on automobiles and automotive parts.

The text of the letter is below, and a signed copy is available here.

May 7, 2019

The Honorable Lawrence Kudlow
Director, National Economic Council
1650 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. Kudlow:

We understand that the Commerce Department’s Section 232 investigation on the national security implications of imports of automobiles and auto parts has been completed and delivered to the President. We support efforts to increase manufacturing jobs and our manufacturing base here in America. However, we are convinced that the products hard-working Americans in the auto sector design, build, sell, and service are not a threat to our national security. We strongly urge you to advise the President against imposing trade restrictions that could harm the auto sector and the American economy.

American auto workers, parts suppliers and retailers, dealers, vehicle service providers, and millions of consumers depend on a healthy and competitive U.S. auto industry. As you know, this vital sector employs nearly four percent of our total private sector workforce and is a key engine that powers our economy. However, if tariffs were to be implemented, new vehicle prices will likely increase, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs.

We are also concerned that vehicles outside of the intended scope of the investigation will be subject to tariffs. Parts used in passenger vehicles may overlap with motorcycles, recreational vehicles, construction equipment, heavy-duty trucks, farming equipment, powersports vehicles, and others. Additionally, inevitable retaliatory tariffs from countries around the world, including our close allies, will cause further harm to American farmers, manufacturers, and consumers.

Again, we support policies that benefit our manufacturing sector. However, American auto manufacturers, parts suppliers and retailers, dealers, and vehicle service providers have not asked for and do not need protection. Tariffs on autos will raise prices for American consumers and lower demand, ultimately leading to decreased U.S. production, investment and employment. We urge you to do everything you can to avoid trade restrictions that would negatively impact the U.S. auto sector and undermine our economic security.

Sincerely,

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Renews Concerns Over Lack of Fairness in Tariff Exclusion Process

Walorski Renews Concerns Over Lack of Fairness in Tariff Exclusion Process

In New Letter to Commerce Secretary Ross, Walorski Raises Concerns that Process Puts U.S. Manufacturers at Disadvantage

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) this week sent Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross a second letter in as many months to outline her growing concerns that U.S. manufacturers and small businesses seeking relief from steel and aluminum tariffs are being treated unfairly. Walorski has not yet received a response to her letter dated March 11, 2019, that raised questions about the product exclusion process.

“Since the process was established 13 months ago, it has been a master class in government inefficiency and plagued by maddening inconsistency,” Congresswoman Walorski wrote. “There are ways to fix the process and, as has always been the case, I am raising these myriad issues in hopes of working with you to improve its fairness, transparency, and efficiency for all participants.”

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Walorski has pressed the Department of Commerce to fix problems faced by businesses requesting relief from Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. American businesses can request a product be excluded from tariffs if it is not available domestically in sufficient quantity or quality.

In response to concerns raised by Walorski last year, the Commerce Department adopted several changes, including the creation of a rebuttal and surrebuttal process. On February 26, 2019, the Department began releasing decisions for steel exclusion requests that went through that process. The first such decisions for aluminum requests were released last week.

As outlined in the letter Walorski sent to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross this week, according to statistics compiled by Walorski’s office:

from February 26 (the first day decisions were released for requests that completed the rebuttal and surrebuttal process) through April 25, the Department has released 3,512 steel decisions in which it made a clear determination as to the domestic availability of a product. Of those, 385 were approved, while 3,127 were denied, resulting in a 10.96% rate of approval. It has denied an additional 832 requests that went through the rebuttal and surrebuttal process but did not receive a determination as to the domestic availability.

On April 24, the Department released the first tranche of decisions for aluminum in which it made a clear determination as to the domestic availability of a product. Of the 183 decisions, 20 were approved and 163 were denied, resulting in a 10.93% rate of approval.

Concerns and questions raised by Walorski in the latest letter include:

  • Who has the burden of proof: the requester or the objector? Does the burden shift if a rebuttal or surrebuttal is filed?
  • Given that the absence of a rebuttal results in a near-guaranteed denial (4.68% approval rate), why does the absence of a surrebuttal result in a low (37.76%) chance of approval?
  • What is the process for renewing approved exclusions, which are generally valid for one year? Is there any expedited procedure to renew an approved exclusion?
  • Does the Department verify an objector’s stated production capacity and plant capacity utilization?
  • Why were certain requests with no objections denied rather than put into an expedited decision process? What information did the Department rely on in denying these requests if no objections were posted?
  • What steps is the Department taking to ensure that it is not giving an unfair advantage to one competitor that requested an exclusion over another with a pending request for a similar or the same product?
  • If certain requests were ineligible for an exclusion from the start because the source country was subject to a quota, why were they posted and put through the rebuttal and surrebuttal process?
  • The Department’s stated goal for the steel and aluminum tariffs was that capacity utilization would reach 80%. What metric is the Department is using to track capacity utilization?
  • What measures is the Department taking to reduce wait times and speed up processing of requests, objections, rebuttals, surrebuttals, and decisions?
  • What interagency outreach and feedback does the Department undertake and take into account when it evaluates exclusion requests?
  • What are the Department’s quality control procedures for posting entries?
  • Do companies need to file new exclusion requests if the importer of record legally changed its name?
  • What is the standard for response time if a participant reaches out to the email addresses and phone numbers provided by the Department? How often are those standards met?

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Introduces Bill to Repeal Job-Killing Medical Device Tax

Walorski, Kind, Peters, Hudson Introduce Bill to Lower Cost of Life-Saving Medical Devices for American Patients

Protect Medical Innovation Act Co-Sponsored by a Bipartisan Coalition of 227 Members of Congress

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), and Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) today introduced the bipartisan Protect Medical Innovation Act, which will lower the cost of life-saving medical devices and create jobs by repealing the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device sales.

The bill is co-sponsored by a bipartisan coalition of 227 Members of Congress. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

“The medical device tax would limit patient access to lifesaving technologies and put countless jobs at risk in northern Indiana, where Hoosiers are proud to be leaders in innovation and manufacturing,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “It’s time to end this job-killing tax once and for all. Permanently repealing the medical device tax will boost American manufacturing, support good-paying jobs, encourage research and innovation, and protect patients who depend on these products. The Protect Medical Innovation Act has broad, bipartisan support in Congress, and I hope we will vote on this bill without delay.”

“Medical devices and new technologies improve the lives and health of millions of Americans every year. Given that this tax applies to revenues – not profits – it is extremely punitive to medical technology innovators. It’s time we permanently repeal this outdated tax on innovation, and support jobs and well-being across the country,” said Rep. Ron Kind.

“Innovation drives progress in health care, technology, science, and more, but the medical device tax stifles innovation and passes costs to consumers. This commonsense change will fuel startup potential in San Diego and make it easier for these job creators to launch their ventures,” said Rep. Scott Peters.

“Since my first days in office, I’ve worked hard to ensure we have a health care system where everyone can get affordable coverage. The medical device tax destroys jobs, hamstrings innovation and raises the cost of life-saving products, and this bill will get rid of it once and for all,” said Rep. Richard Hudson.

BACKGROUND

The 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device sales took effect in 2013, but has been suspended since 2016. The tax impacts devices often used by patients throughout their lives, including pacemakers, joint replacements, and many surgical tools.

The medical device industry employs 519,000 nationwide, with over 80 percent of medical device firms employing fewer than 50 employees. According to some estimates, researchers saw a $34 million reduction in industry research and development while the medical device tax was in effect. Reinstating the medical device tax could hurt the success of these businesses, and in-turn, stifle research and development of life-saving or life-altering medical advancements for American consumers.

The full text of H.R. 2207, the Protect Medical Innovation Act, is available here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Committee Approves Walorski Bill to Help Unemployed Americans Return to Work

Committee Approves Walorski Bill to Help Unemployed Americans Return to Work

Bipartisan BRIDGE for Workers Act Would Give States Greater Flexibility in Unemployment Programs

WASHINGTON – The House Ways and Means Committee today unanimously approved bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.), and Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) to create more opportunities for working families to get ahead.

The Building on Reemployment Improvements to Deliver Good Employment (BRIDGE) for Workers Act would give states more flexibility in administering existing unemployment benefits to help more Americans re-enter the workforce and find good-paying jobs. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that new investments in re-employment services scheduled over the next decade would reduce the budget deficit by $600 million between 2022 and 2027.

“The unemployment program plays a key role in helping those who fall on hard times get back on their feet, but for too long it has focused on simply processing checks,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “We need to treat unemployed workers like people, not numbers on a spreadsheet. With this bipartisan bill, we are refocusing on the individual needs of workers to help them get back into the workforce quickly and to minimize the impact on them and their families.”

“Few experiences are more difficult for working families than when someone loses a job, which is why I’m proud my bill will help move more Americans more quickly from unemployment to a good-paying job. We need more bridges to the middle class not more barriers,” Murphy said. “I’m glad to see this bill move one step closer to becoming law as it will provide much-needed relief to hardworking families and restore the dignity that comes with earning a paycheck for every worker.”

“To build a strong and vibrant economy, we need job training and support getting people back to work,” Torres Small said. “When we provide people struggling to find new work with the tools they need, we strengthen our local communities and keep our nation competitive in the global economy. I am proud to help lead the bipartisan BRIDGE For Workers Act with my colleagues Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL-7), Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-2), and Rep. Darin LaHood (IL-18).”

“With over seven million unfilled jobs in this country, opportunity is abound. It’s important we empower individuals to get off the sidelines and back to work. Every week a parent spends out of the workforce, through no fault of their own, is a week too long,” LaHood said. “This bipartisan fix for reemployment services will help more workers shorten their benefit durations and get back to receiving what they want most, a paycheck.

BACKGROUND

The U.S. Department of Labor awards annual grants to states and territories so they can provide a range of services to recipients of unemployment benefits and help them find work. Services include individual career counseling, assistance with job searches, and information on the local labor market. Under current law, however, states can only use their federal grants to assist workers who are expected to exhaust their unemployment benefits before they find work. This unnecessary restriction prevents many unemployed workers from getting valuable assistance. The BRIDGE for Workers Act would remove this restriction and allow states to use their grants to provide support to any individual receiving unemployment benefits, as long as the state believes these services would help them return to work more quickly.

The legislation is endorsed by the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA), the non-partisan national organization representing all 50 state workforce agencies, D.C., and U.S. territories. It is expected to come up for a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives in the following weeks.

Video of Walorski speaking at today’s committee markup of the BRIDGE for Workers Act is available here. Full text of the bill can be found here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski: Tax Cuts and Regulatory Reforms Are Helping Hoosiers Thrive

Walorski: Tax Cuts and Regulatory Reforms Are Helping Hoosiers Thrive

Highlights Economic Growth, Job Creation, Rising Wages in Hearing on Impact of Tax Reform

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today at a Ways and Means Committee hearing highlighted the economic growth, job creation, and rising wages seen by hardworking Hoosiers in the wake of historic tax cuts and regulatory reforms.

“I can proudly and boldly stand here today and talk about the fact that my constituents in my district have more money in their pocket,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “These are hardworking Hoosiers. They’re not the one percent. One employee at a company I was touring told me just recently that the benefits that he has right now are not ‘crumbs,’ as Speaker Pelosi told the country. It’s real money for him and it’s real money for his family.”

Video of Walorski’s full remarks at the hearing is available here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Discusses USMCA with President Trump

Walorski Discusses USMCA with President Trump

Joined House Republican Colleagues at White House for Meeting on U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after she and several House Republican colleagues met with President Trump at the White House to discuss the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement:

“A modernized trade agreement with Mexico and Canada will boost our economy, expand markets for Hoosier ag exports and made-in-America products, and ensure a level playing field for American workers. President Trump made clear he will be fully engaged in this process, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to discuss the path forward for the USMCA. I look forward to working together to benefit American small businesses, farmers, workers, and families.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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