Summary: Today at his weekly press conference, Speaker Ryan discussed how the 2018 farm bill, soon to be introduced by House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX), will play a critical role in delivering on another top conservative priority: workforce development. He also discussed why Tax Day will look a little different next year thanks to the new tax law.

Farm Bill

“Right now, we are in one of the best economic environments in years. Businesses are looking to hire. In fact, there are now 6.3 million job openings across the country. That is a record. The jobs are there for the taking, but the challenge is we need more workers.

“We have to make sure that it’s easier to prepare to work and to get the right skills. And we have to make sure that it pays to work, to have the right incentives. This is what our workforce development agenda is all about.

“Last year, the House passed a measure which improves career and technical education, to help get more people on a steady career path. The new government funding bill that we passed recently prioritizes apprenticeship programs, as well as child care and early head start programs so that it’s easier for parents to look for work. Earlier this week, the president signed an executive order aimed at increasing opportunities for those in need. And today, the Agriculture Committee is releasing a new farm bill.

“It includes reforms to help people on the SNAP program who are able to work find work, and start taking those steps toward making a good living. In states like Kansas and Maine, we have seen that an approach combining work requirements with work supports—like apprenticeships and skills training—has phenomenal success. This is going to help get more Americans out of poverty, and it’s going to help more Americans get into the workforce, while maintaining support for those in need.

“So I want to commend Chairman Conaway for his work. We look forward to making more progress on this agenda in the weeks ahead. And this was a critical component of our Better Way agenda that we’re excited about executing.”

Tax Day

“Lastly, not that anyone needs reminding: We are just five days away from Tax Day. This year, when you submit your tax returns, you are saying goodbye to that old tax code for good. In its place, you will have a new tax code with lower rates, a nearly doubled standard deduction, and an expanded child tax credit. You are saying goodbye to an awful lot of hassle too, as nearly nine out of 10 Americans will be able to file their taxes in a simple and straightforward way.

“This, of course, is on top of all of the benefits that Americans have already seen from tax reform through bonuses, raises, and higher 401 (k) matches. As I said yesterday, this law is working, and it will make this country stronger and much more prosperous for years to come.”