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WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, announced Wednesday morning that this will be his last term in the United States House.
First elected in 1996, Brady is one of the most important members of the Texas delegation and a powerful player in the Republican House Conference. The announcement was widely anticipated as he faced a term limit in his role as a senior Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, which legislates on tax legislation.
“I am retiring as a member of Congress. This term, my 13th, will be the last,” he said during a speech at the Economic Outlook Conference of the Chamber of Commerce of the Region of Woodlands. “I originally set out to give my constituents the representation you deserve, the efficiency you want and the economic freedom you need. I hope I delivered.”
Brady is the second congressman from Texas to announce that this would be his last term. Last month, U.S. Democratic Representative Filemon Vela of Brownsville announced his own retirement.
“Is it because I 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 country – talented, hardworking and serious in their responsibilities – on both sides. And after 25 years in the nation’s Capitol, I have yet to see a problem that we can’t or can’t solve – especially when we put our ideas and best intentions together.
“As you may not know, because House Republicans limit committee leaders to six-year terms, I will not be able to chair the Ways and Means Committee in the next session when the Republicans return.” the majority. Was that taken into account in this decision? Yeah, some.
“But as I see it, the term limits of our committee heads ensure that hard-working, efficient-working lawmakers one day have the opportunity to lead, to bring new and fresh ideas to every committee we have. In my opinion, this is a good thing. “
Brady, a native of South Dakota, led the local Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce for nearly two decades. He ran and won a seat at Texas House in 1990 and came to Congress in 1996.
While on Capitol Hill, Brady had no reservations about engaging in partisan fights, but he behaved primarily with a sunny disposition. So much so that after running unsuccessfully for Ways and Means to preside over his first candidacy, the man who won the hammer – future Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan – lent his support to Brady in the second and successful Brady’s race in 2015.
The pinnacle of Brady’s career came at the end of 2017, when he successfully led the Republican campaign to cut taxes significantly. The victory came after Republicans failed to overturn former President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare law.
The tax overhaul was the party’s most significant legislative achievement in the Trump era, but it is also expected to increase the federal deficit.
Brady was also on the Republican congressional baseball team. Brady left Team GOP’s last morning practice session minutes earlier in 2017, narrowly missing a shooter who injured his close friend and roommate Steve Scalise, then the majority house whip.
Brady’s retirement will trigger a rush to replace him.
The population center of his district is Montgomery County, a powerful Republican stronghold in the North Houston suburban area. In its current form, the 8th District stretches north into the Piney Woods. There will likely be changes in this year’s redistribution cycle.
It is difficult, however, to see a scenario in which this seat becomes competitive territory for Democrats. Brady was never reelected with less than 59% of the vote, and he often won in more recent cycles with 50 percentage point margins. In 2020, then-President Donald Trump won the 8th District by a 42-point margin over future President Joe Biden.
Brady’s retirement marks a drop in weight over the years for Republicans at Texas House and the inevitable phase of rebuilding that the Texas GOP delegation is living through.
Just five years ago, seven Texas Republicans headed House committees. Most have retired. Representative Michael McCaul was limited for one term from his post as chairman of the House Homeland Security committee, but he is now the senior Republican on the foreign affairs committee.
U.S. Representative Pete Sessions headed the House Rules Committee but lost his re-election in 2018. He has since returned to Congress in another district but, for now, remains a grassroots member.
Along with the Democrats controlling the US House, there is currently a President from Texas. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, heads the House’s science, space and technology committee.
If Republicans take power in the House in 2022, U.S. Representative Kay Granger from Fort Worth could be nominated to head the House Appropriations Committee.
As for Brady, he said he remains optimistic about the country’s future.
“Ultimately, I will leave Congress as I entered, with the absolute conviction that we are a remarkable nation: the greatest in history,” he said. “Despite what the media and social networks bombard you every day, we are not the hateful, racist and divided nation that we are peddled. They are completely wrong. Turn off all that noise and you will hear America’s real heartbeat. “