Meet the Texan Tapped as the New Ways & Means Chairman

Last week Republican Kevin Brady was named chair of the House Ways and Means committee, which oversees programs like Social Security and Medicaid.

By Rhonda FanningNovember 10, 2015 9:43 am

Last week, Texas Rep. Kevin Brady won over the chairmanship of one of the most powerful groups of congressional lawmakers, the House Ways and Means Committee.

Brady, who also hails from The Woodlands, took newly-minted House Speaker Paul Ryan’s old spot after Ryan was elected into John Boehner’s recently vacant position. The Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over tax-writing and other revenue-related aspects of health care, Medicare, Social Security, international trade and welfare.

Kevin Brady spoke with Texas Standard about his plans for leading the committee and what his parents – staunch Democrats – would think of his position as one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress.

Will you follow in Paul Ryan’s footsteps, or do you have other plans for Ways and Means?

“We have been talking a lot about tax reform … The Ways and Means Committee has a lot of jurisdiction. What I’m going to focus on is fixing this broken tax code so we can grow our economy and grow jobs as well. I’m gonna take real steps toward fixing Social Security and Medicare for the long-term. Those are such important programs, but they’re financially on shaky ground.”

You come from a family of Democrats. What was the moment when you decided the democratic party wasn’t your home anymore?

“When I chose chamber of commerce work for my professional career. That’s where you help start small businesses. You create a good business climate to then just succeed in good times and, frankly, survive in bad times. You recruit new industry to your community. When I saw first hand how burdensome red tape is and taxes are on our local job creators, that’s when I knew the Republican party had principles for me.

“At the end of the day, I just believe my party is all about one, a strong national defense, secondly, less government and taxes so you can live your life and thirdly, the freedom to trade. Those are principles that frankly I’m gonna pursue as leader of the Ways and Means committee.”

What do you think your parents would say about you being one of the most powerful Republicans in the the U.S. House?

“Well, I think they’d be amazed. But I tell you what – they taught me such great values, same as my four brothers and sisters. We had a remarkable mother who just was amazing, and so I think all of us are shaped so much by our family. I think they’d be proud and I hope I can make them prouder still.”