Congressional Spotlight: Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX-8)

Rep. Kevin Brady represents the 8th district of Texas and serves as the top Republican on the Ways & Means Committee.

As you leave Congress, what pieces of legislation are you most proud of?

As Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, I worked across the aisle to pass major legislation that helped America. One of my first victories as Chairman was negotiating an end to the 40-year ban on selling U.S. crude oil overseas, which remains one of my proudest accomplishments for my district, for Texas and for the country. America’s ability to produce and export natural resources has provided countless jobs, kept energy prices low for families and businesses, and enhanced our national security.

Additionally, we recently celebrated the first anniversary of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). This trade agreement is a victory for America’s workers, farmers, manufacturers and small businesses, and has leveled the playing field. Ratifying this agreement with our biggest trade partners gave farmers, ranchers, and small businesses a leg up and was achieved in a bipartisan way. USMCA had the support of every member of the Texas delegation, a remarkable example of putting politics aside to do what’s best for the people of Texas.

Perhaps my biggest legislative accomplishment was leading the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the first comprehensive overhaul of America’s tax system in more than 30 years. Rewriting the tax code made the U.S. more competitive, stopped offshoring jobs, decreased unemployment to a 50-year low, increased investment in our economy and resulted in the fastest wage growth in a decade.

Will a tax package pass during the 117th Congress?

Democrats have a lot of hesitation about President Biden’s tax proposal, because of its effects on over a million small businesses, when even the left-of-center Tax Policy Center has found that the individual tax increases hit the middle class. These would be the highest tax increases in the history of the U.S., so they are right to be concerned. Middle class and small business tax increases that kill jobs are deeply unpopular among a bipartisan majority of Americans — especially ones that would require a slim partisan majority to pass.

Washington seems polarized on major issues. Are there areas where Congress can come together?

I work with some of the most dedicated people in the nation, on both sides of the aisle, who are hardworking, talented and serious about representing their constituents. After 25 years in the capital, I have yet to see a problem we can’t solve when we put our best ideas and intentions together.

I’m proud to have worked with President Trump and lawmakers to reform America’s retirement system, ban surprise medical bills, eliminate the ObamaCare individual mandate and make the Research & Development tax credit permanent. Through bipartisan negotiations, I have seen America recapture the title as the world’s most competitive economy, bringing manufacturing jobs and investment back home.

When I retire at the end of this term, I’m leaving Congress the way I entered it – with the absolute belief that we are a remarkable nation, the greatest in history.

What’s driving the “More Energy More Jobs Act” you and Rep. Henry Cuellar introduced?

My district relies on energy, manufacturing and trade. When it comes to protecting U.S. national security, our economy and the livelihoods of thousands of American families, there is always a way to find common ground. I’m grateful for Rep. Cuellar’s support on the “More Energy More Jobs Act,” because he understands the value the energy industry has in saving American jobs and boosting the economy in a responsible manner.

Our bill empowers governors to nominate land for offshore oil and gas development and requires at least two area-wide lease sales annually in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico. Drilling in the Gulf supports 345,000 jobs and provides critical funding for conservation efforts and hurricane preparedness. Our country’s offshore oil and natural gas industry is essential for job creation, the economy and national security. This bill unlocks our offshore energy resources while maintaining current environmental and safety laws by directing the Department of the Interior (DOI) to conduct the economic and environmental studies. These are important first steps for inclusion in the lease plan.

As we continue to recover from this pandemic, our nation needs good-paying jobs and affordable energy prices. Few nations develop energy with the strict environmental standards as America, and energy independence is something we should celebrate.

Tell us a bit about the effort to get the crude oil export ban lifted in 2015.

As Chair of Ways and Means, I led negotiations to lift the crude oil export ban. This and other game-changing legislation set the stage for the U.S. to become a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products in 2019 for the first time in more than 70 years – a major energy milestone. The U.S. continues to be a net oil exporter, demonstrating the success of our bill to allow oil exports. American innovation and strong conservative leadership enabled us to compete on a global scale.

American energy dominance has kept prices low for everyday Texans, providing countless economic benefits to the Houston region and strengthening our nation’s security on the world stage. This boom is thanks to American energy innovation, like the revolutionary commercialization of hydraulic fracking. I will continue to promote policies supporting American energy dominance throughout the remainder of my time in Congress.

Unfortunately, some Democrats introduced legislation to ban oil and gas exports. Exporting safe and clean American resources – tax and tariff-free – has grown our economy and protected jobs at home while lowering global emissions. In the midst of record inflation, which devastates small businesses, families, local investors and jobs, disrupting our clean resources unnecessarily would do more harm than good.

What are your plans for retirement?

This job has been the honor of a lifetime. While I will miss my colleagues in Washington, I’m looking forward to spending more time with family and friends in the great state of Texas. I never moved to Washington and have logged more than 2.5 million miles commuting from Texas to D.C. over the years, so I’m looking forward to spending less time on a plane and more time in my community that I call home. I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I know that wherever I end up, I will continue to fight for pro-business, pro-family conservative policies that help all Americans.

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