The Montgomery County Republican served in Congress for over two decades. WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, declared Wednesday morning that this would be his last U.S. House term.
Brady – First elected in 1996
First elected in 1996, Brady is one of the Texas delegation’s senior representatives and a strong player in the House Republican Conference. The announcement was widely anticipated as he faced a term limit in his position as the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, lawmaking tax law.
“I’m retiring as a Congressman. It’s my last word, my 13th, “announced at The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook Conference. “I started by giving my constituents the voice you deserve, the effectiveness you want, and the economic independence you need. Hope I’ve delivered. “
Brady is the second Texas Congressman to say this is his final term. Last month, Filemon Vela of Brownsville declared his own retirement.
“Have I lost confidence in a partisan congress and the democratic system? Not at all, “Brady said. “I work with some of the nation’s most committed people—talented, hard-working, serious about their responsibilities—in both sides. And after 25 years in the Capitol, I haven’t seen a dilemma we can’t fix or step beyond yet. None. None. Particularly when we put together our ideas and best intentions.
“Since House Republicans restrict committee leaders to six-year terms, as you might not know, I won’t be able to chair the Ways and Means Committee in the next session when Republicans take back the vote. Did that aspect make that decision? Some, yeah.
“But as I see it, the term limits of our committee chair ensure that lawmakers who work hard and work well someday have the ability to lead, bring fresh, new ideas to every committee we have. In my opinion, it’s fine. “
Brady, a South Dakota native, ran the Montgomery County area chamber of commerce for nearly two decades. He ran for a Texas House seat in 1990 and came to Congress in 1996.
In his tenure on Capitol Hill, Brady had no doubts about participating in political battles, but always with a sunny disposition. So much so that after chairing his first bid for Ways and Means unsuccessfully, the man who won the gavel — future House Speaker Paul Ryan — threw his support behind Brady during Brady’s second successful run in 2015.
Brady’s career peak came in late 2017, spearheading the strong Republican drive to dramatically cut taxes. The victory came after former President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare legislation failed to unwind Republicans.
Tax reform was the largest legislative victory of the party in the Trump period, but it is also projected to raise the federal deficit.
Brady was also a regular on the Republican baseball team. Brady left the last morning practice of the GOP squad a few minutes early in 2017, narrowly missing a gunman who shot his close friend and roommate, Steve Scalise.
Brady’s retirement starts a scramble to replace him.
His district’s population centre is Montgomery County, a powerful Republican stronghold in northern suburban Houston. The 8th District, in its present form, stretches north into Piney Woods. It’ll likely see some improvements in this year’s redistricting round.
However, seeing any scenario where this seat becomes Democrats’ competitive territory is difficult. Brady was never re-elected with less than 59% of the vote, and in more recent elections, he mostly won by 50-percentage-point margins.In 2020, then-President Donald Trump took a 42-point lead over future President Joe Biden in the 8th District.
Brady’s resignation underlines a drop in clout over the years for Texas House Republicans and the likely reconstruction process the Texas GOP delegation is undergoing.
Just five years ago, seven Texas Republicans ran houses. Most have retired. Rep. Michael McCaul was a term-limited chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee but is now the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
In 2018, U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions headed the House Rules Committee but lost reelection. He returned to Congress in another district, but remains a rank-and-file member for now.
With U.S. House Democrats in charge, Texas has one new chair. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, chairs the Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
If Republicans gain control of the House in 2022, Fort Worth’s U.S. Rep. Kay Granger will be posted on the House Appropriations Committee.
Brady said he remained hopeful about the country’s future.
“I’ll ultimately leave Congress as I entered it, with the utter belief that we’re a remarkable nation: the greatest in history,” he said. “Despite what the media and social media bombard you every day, we’re not the divisive, racist, fractured country we’re peddled about. They’re wrong. Switch off the noise, and hear America’s real heartbeat. “
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