South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice on Wednesday said he wanted to help push comprehensive tax, trade and infrastructure revisions through Congress this year as part of a GOP agenda aimed at boosting the country’s competitive position.
In an interview with McClatchy the day before President Donald Trump releases his budget blueprint, the Republican lawmaker said his eyes were set on driving more revenue to some of South Carolina’s poorest counties: Dillon, Marion and Marlboro.
“My main focus is on American competitiveness,” Rice told McClatchy. “If we can make the country competitive, nobody can stop us.”
Getting any major revamppassed in 2017 will be difficult even with Republicans in control of Congress and the White House. Already, factions within the Republican Party are struggling to find consensus on their greatest priority: repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.
While Rice said he was concerned with health care restructuring – he is one of the Republicans who support the GOP’s health care legislation – his priorities are aimed at helping small businesses. And one of his targets is the 10-year-old Dodd-Frank financial law, enacted after a deep financial crisis.
Rice said Dodd-Frank had been “strangling” local bank growth and had “failed in its primary mission” of responsible regulation. Rice also blamed slow economic growth in South Carolina on legal action by environment groups that has slowed infrastructure projects.
He has introduced the Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act, which he dubbed the “Loser Pays” bill, to make it mandatory that those who lose suits against infrastructure projects cover court costs and attorney fees.
He cited immigration and tax restructuring as priorities but did not share any details about legislative proposals he might introduce or support.