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U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady is a pro-family, pro-small business conservative who proudly represents the Eighth Congressional District of Texas.
Widely recognized as a national economic leader, Kevin is only the third Texan in history to chair the powerful House Ways & Means Committee – considered to be the most influential committee in Congress – with control over taxes, international trade, health care, Medicare, Social Security and welfare.
As Chairman, he led a historic reform of America’s tax code, the first in 30 years. These tax cuts for families and local businesses restored America to the most competitive economy in the world, leading to millions of new jobs, the highest household income and lowest poverty rate in half a century, and a return of U.S. jobs and investment from overseas.
A champion of free enterprise and American-made energy, Kevin’s first achievement as Chairman was successfully negotiating on behalf of Speaker Paul Ryan for an end to the 40-year ban on selling U.S. crude oil overseas, leading to American energy independence.
His successful initiatives also include the first reform of the IRS in two decades, passage of President Trump’s US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA), sweeping reform of Americas’ retirement system in the form of The Family Savings Act, a historic national ban on surprise medical bills, elimination of the ObamaCare individual mandate and the three largest ACA taxes, and making the Research & Development tax credit permanent to ensure research into key medical breakthroughs and technologies occur here in America rather than in foreign countries.
Kevin is a recognized national leader in free trade, and while Chairman of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, he helped secure approval of trade agreements with Columbia, Panama and South Korea. In Congress, he has helped successfully secure passage of 13 of America’s 15 free trade agreements, including President Trump’s new agreement with Canada and Mexico. He was the White House point man for the Central American trade agreement, and in 2016 authored the first successful major reform of trade rules since 9/11 to speed-up secure, legal trade of products across U.S. borders.
He has devoted years in Congress to spurring new treatments and cures for rare diseases, including Pulmonary Hypertension, Primary Immune Deficiency and juvenile Batten’s Disease.
Kevin served as Chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee of the House and Senate, and has chaired both the Health Care and Trade Subcommittees of Ways and Means.
Prior to his election to Congress, Kevin worked as a Chamber of Commerce executive for 18 years and served six years in the Texas House of Representatives, where he was named Top Ten Legislator for Families & Children and one of Five Outstanding Young Texans.
Kevin is a Distinguished Alumni of the University of South Dakota.
He is dedicated to staying close to the families and communities he represents, and never moved to Washington. Kevin lives in The Woodlands with his wife and two sons and has logged more than 2.5 million miles commuting from Texas to Congress, equivalent to five round trips to the moon.
Since day one, one of my top priorities in Congress has been tax reform and to lower the tax burden on American families and ensure small businesses have the capital they need to be successful and create jobs. While Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Committee responsible for writing the tax code, I was able to have a direct impact on our nation’s tax laws and fight against tax increases.
On December 22, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S.tax code in 31 years - The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1). And the economy hasn’t stopped thriving since; paychecks are going up, people are investing more, business and consumer optimism have reached record highs, and the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 60 years.
There is a new hope. We are changing the culture in Washington where Congress waits thirty years between improving our tax code while our global competitors continue to distance themselves. Those days are over. America’s going to stay in the lead pack. Every year we will work to make America more competitive, more innovative, and make sure our tax code is family friendly.
If you have questions or comments on something that can be improved, we welcome the opportunity to work with you to make sure this law continues to improve lives.
During the Obama administration, hardworking Americans endured the slowest economic recovery in modern times when it comes to economic growth and income growth. But because of historic tax reform and Republican efforts to decrease unnecessary regulations, our economy is now booming.
Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law by President Trump, we have experienced record low unemployment, including the lowest rates in history for women, the disabled, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans and youth. For the first time in history, we have more job openings than we have people looking for work. We’re experiencing real wage growth for the first time in a decade and blue-collar workers are seeing the biggest increase.
Despite experts saying that manufacturing jobs would never come back without a “magic wand”, manufacturing jobs have increased dramatically under President Trump. And for the first time in a decade American recaptured the title of “most competitive economy in the word.”
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was “built for growth”, to encourage American companies to build and grow here, instead of overseas. We’re already seeing the results of these decisions and I believe the best is yet to come.
As the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, I am in a good position to address the shortcomings in the current Social Security system and ensure this program is solvent today and in the years to come.
- Protecting Social Security
In 1945, there were 42 workers to support every one Social Security beneficiary. Today, that number is just under 3 workers for each beneficiary, and when younger workers retire, there will only be 2 workers per recipient. Social Security’s cost continues to exceed its non-interest income, as it has since 2010.
Social Security is funded with payroll taxes taken out of our paychecks. Yet, under the current system, payroll taxes will only be enough to pay for 77 percent of benefits in 2034 and 73 percent of benefits by 2091. In other words, without reforming Social Security, benefits will eventually have to be cut by 27 percent or the payroll tax will have to be raised from 12 percent to 15 percent just to ensure that others receive their scheduled benefits. The cash shortfall will continue growing thereafter, requiring steeper tax increases and larger benefit cuts over time.
- The facts are grim. The program is not sustainable.
In order to protect Social Security for future generations, we must pursue an aggressive reform agenda. I strongly oppose legislation, however, that would cut benefits to those already retired or those nearing retirement. In order for the grandchildren of those now retired to not be saddled with a huge tax burden or have their benefits drastically cut, we need to pass responsible reform.
- Ensuring Fair Treatment for Texas Teachers, Firefighters, Police Officers and Public Servants
Today, nearly a million firefighters, police officers, teachers and other public servants earn both a Social Security benefit and a Social Security substitute – such as a state public pension – where workers do not contribute to Social Security. When they retire, their Social Security worker benefit is determined using an arbitrary formula called the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), which may reduce their Social Security checks by up to $448 a month. WEP’s one-size-fits all approach does not adjust benefits fairly for all workers.
That is why I, along with my colleague Richard Neal (D-MA), have introduced H.R. 711, the Equal Treatment for Public Servants Act in the 114th Congress. It repeals the 1980’s era WEP which impacts 1.7million public servants and instead bases Social Security on real life earnings and work history. Our bill strengthens the solvency of Social Security while guaranteeing our public servants receive the full benefits they earned when paying into the program. Those who teach our children and protect and serve us everyday deserve equal treatment when they retire. Social Security benefits should be based on your real-life contributions, not some arbitrary formula.
For more than six years, our economy has endured the worst economic recovery in modern times. Our federal government has run up more than $18 trillion debt. The deficits over the past seven fiscal years are the highest on record, fpur of them exceeded $ 1 trillion. And in just a few years, Social Security threatens to run dry and Medicare costs are projected to bankrupt us. But the problem in Washington isn’t a lack of money - it’s an insatiable appetite for more spending – much of it wasted. This is why I continue to champion legislation to get our country’s financial house in order.
Families across the country have been forced to tighten their belts, yet Washington continues to let its out even more. That’s why I’m calling for a comprehensive solution to tackle the budget crisis in our country head-on. We can Maximize America’s Prosperity, but America need a MAP to get us there.
My MAP Act would impose mandatory smart caps on federal spending and provide for flexible fiscal guardrails that shrink the size of government.
Creating jobs is our number one priority. In order to get our economy moving again we need to put America’s fiscal house in order. Our federal government is already too big, and is only growing bigger under this Administration. This represents a significant threat to our nation’s future prosperity.
Our persistent deficits and growing debt are significant road blocks to job creation. However, debt and deficits are merely symptoms of an underlying disease – excessive federal spending. We need to treat the disease in order to alleviate the symptoms.
In addition to mandatory smart caps on spending, my legislation includes putting other important guardrails around Congress and the White House to keep America on the path to restoring fiscal responsibility:
A politically sustainable and tough sequestration process that would put every federal spending program at risk – no sacred cows – for spending reductions if Congress and the White House fail to comply with the smart caps;
Would transform the President’s budget from of political wish list into a meaningful decision-making tool by requiring that it comply with the mandatory smart caps;
For the first time ever, the budget would be required to prioritize every dollar of federal spending into 5 categories from most to least essential. Each category could contain no less than 12% of spending;
An Item Reduction veto that would allow the President to reduce the amount of any appropriation and have that proposal given a prompt up or down vote;
A Sunset Commission to make every federal agency justify its existence like the Sunset Commission in Texas that has saved taxpayers millions of dollars;
A permanent continuing resolution that sets spending at 90% of the prior year’s levels. This would avoid government shutdown threats that result in higher spending by establishing a default position where the government spends less.
Experience at the federal level, the state level and among our global competitors offers us important lessons in how to get the job done. We need to learn from those lessons. We don’t have the luxury to wait.
As the former Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, I understand how trade is critical to the prosperity of our nation, and to Texas. Our state is the number one exporting state in the nation, and one of the fastest growing. The Port of Houston is the second largest in the United States, first when you count tonnage. The goods and services we produce are sold around the world – creating good-paying jobs right here at home. One in five manufacturing jobs in Texas results from trade. One in three acres Texas farmers plant are sold abroad. And 280,000 jobs in the Houston region are associated with the economic activity the Port generates.
That’s why I’m so pleased that Congress passed and the President signed three key sales agreements in this Congress. The new free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia will mean business for our south texas ports and customers for Texans.
The principle in trade is this: If we, as Americans, build a better mouse trap, we ought to be able to sell it anywhere in the world without discrimination. If someone else builds a better mouse trap, we ought to be able to buy it for our families and our businesses.
But as our business owners and farmers look to sell their products overseas, more often than not, they find the world market tilted against them. Other countries have negotiated over 100 bilateral trade agreements that benefit each other – but leave the United States out. Our competitors erect barriers to our goods and services that make it difficult to do business. U.S. trade policy must focus on tearing down these unfair barriers.
That’s why I have supported a range of trade negotiations – at the global level, regional and bilateral – that can help level the playing field for U.S. workers and brighten our economic future – especially at a time when we need it the most. Our bilateral partners make up only 7% of the world’s economy, but they are some of our best customers, buying over 40% of all that the United States sells. In 2008, as our nation has faced dire economic times, exports have been the one bright spot in our economy – helping to keep our GDP afloat.
And a new global trade agreement, however far from reach it might be, will help to increase the standard of living for all and is a worthy goal for us to continue to pursue.
That’s why I have called for a renewed authority for the next President to continue to negotiate market-opening trade agreements.
America shouldn’t retreat from competition in the world marketplace, we should insist on it. It is America’s strength and the key to the high-tech, high-paying jobs of the future.
Energy & Environment
Texas families, small businesses, airlines, schools, and law enforcement officials are being hammered by volatile fuel prices. Yet, the solution to our energy problems is straightforward – America needs to find more sources of energy and use less of it.
Unfortunately, Congress has focused too often on gimmicks aimed at scoring political points instead of real solutions. Suing OPEC, mandating longer lasting light bulbs, windfall profits taxes and punishing American companies for producing energy and jobs here at home not only doesn’t work, energy costs go up on working families and small businesses. Instead of preventing companies from leasing new federal lands, perpetuating moratoriums that have forced 11 rigs to leave the Gulf of Mexico and stopping coastal states from sharing in revenue generated from off-shore oil exploration, we should be embracing an ‘All of the Above’ energy strategy for America.
America’s borders are broken. There is no more simple way to say it. Texas pays the price every day with gang violence, human trafficking and drug trafficking. We must shut the back door of illegal immigration, so the front door of legal immigration can remain open. This means securing the border, insisting companies hire only legal workers, and rewarding those who play by the rules.
Secure our Border. I supported the Secure Fence Act of 2006 and continue to fight to ensure full funding for border security, through fencing, electronic sensors and a more robust Border Patrol presence.
Stop Illegal Hiring. America can take a large step in the right direction by simply stopping businesses from hiring illegal workers and giving honest employers the tools they need to hire legal workers. That’s why I have supporting the verification of employees through modern technology. Bills I have championed created a database that employers can quickly and accurately tap to make sure their employees are able to work legally in the United States. Once an effective employment verification system is in place, enforcement becomes easier and those that may cross the border illegally have less of an incentive to do so.
Reject Amnesty. I have always been, and remain, adamantly opposed to any legislation that grants amnesty to illegal aliens.
There is no question that our country has been made better by the law abiding people who came to this country seeking to assimilate into our culture and to make a better future for their family. As we work to solve our illegal immigration problems, we should always remain true to our values, respect the rule of law, and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
High Speed Rail
I strongly oppose TCR’s efforts to develop a high-speed rail in Texas. The proposed Dallas to Houston route would threaten the property rights of Texas landowners whose farms, ranches, and homesteads sit along the route – land that has at times been in families for generations.
Our government was created to protect our liberties – not to take them away – and I will fight against any permits from Washington D.C. that would grant this private company the ability to seize property without the consent of landowners.
The project’s cost has already increased by nearly $10 billion, and serious economic and safety questions have gone unanswered. While I strongly support infrastructure that addresses the dynamic growth of Texas, transportation improvements need to work for local communities, not against them.