Top House Republican will not seek re-election, Mastermind of 2017 tax code overhaul

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) announced today that he will not seek re-election. While making remarks at the Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook Conference outside of Houston, Brady said his 13th term in the U.S. House will be his last.

That’s too bad, though it is understandable. Brady has served his Texas district for more than two decades. His may not be a household name but he’s just the kind of politician you want – not a glory hog on the lookout for a camera or television interview, quietly working on behalf of regular Americans. His impact as “a driving force behind the 2017 tax code overhaul” alone is worth a place in the history books. President Trump embraced Kevin Brady and his work on tax cuts. The 2017 tax code overhaul included lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, slashing individual rates, and ended deductions such as unlimited write-offs for state and local taxes. The results of the tax code overhaul were seen in a roaring U.S. economy until the coronavirus pandemic hit.

If Rep. Brady chose to run for re-election, it would be safe to say he’d easily win his 14th term.

Every district in the country will be redrawn this year to accommodate the 2020 Census results, and Texas’ map will changed more than most because the state is could pick up two seats.

Still, Brady’s 8th District has been reliably Republican. He beat his Democratic opponent by 47 percentage points in November when President Donald Trump beat Democratic nominee Joe Biden by 43 points.

Brady noted it was appropriate that he made his intention to not seek re-election during a speech to the Chamber of Commerce, as he ran the local chamber for nearly 20 years. In 1990, he ran for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives and won. Then in 1996 he ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and won. He is a native of South Dakota. He is leaving Congress with an optimistic attitude.

“I am retiring as your Congressman. This term, my 13th, will be my last,” he announced during remarks at the Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook Conference. “I set out originally to give my constituents the representation you deserve, the effectiveness you want and the economic freedom you need. I hope I delivered.”

“Is this because I’ve lost faith in a partisan Congress and the political system? Absolutely not,” Brady said. “I work with some of the most dedicated people in the nation — talented, hardworking and serious about their responsibilities — in both parties. And after 25 years in the nation’s Capitol, I haven’t yet seen a problem we can’t solve or move past. Not one. Especially when we put our ideas and our best intentions together.

“As you may not know, because House Republicans limit committee leaders to six-year terms, I won’t be able to chair the Ways and Means Committee in the next session when Republicans win back the majority. Did that factor into that decision? Yeah, some.

“But as I see it, our committee leader term limits ensure lawmakers who work hard and who work effectively someday have the opportunity to lead, to bring fresh, new ideas to every committee we have. In my view, it’s a good thing.

He is known to be a happy warrior. He successfully ran the House Ways and Means Committee as chairman for two terms, including during the 2017 tax code overhaul. He is currently the ranking member of the committee. Who could blame him for looking ahead to 2022 when the GOP takes back control of the House and he won’t be able to chair the House Ways and Means Committee?

Brady’s expertise and common sense approach to such important matters as tax rates and easing the economic burdens of the middle class will be missed. Especially in a time of Biden’s tax and spend agenda, we could use those advocating for tax cuts, not increases more than ever.