Rep. Kevin Brady, the Ranking Republican member of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, announced April 14 that he will not seek reelection in 2022.
“I have an announcement. And I can’t think of a better place to make it than right here at The Chamber I led, in the community I live, and to business and community leaders I admire and consider friends,” said Brady, who has served in Congress since 1997. “I am retiring as your congressman. This term, my 13th, will be the last.”
Brady also served as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee from 2015 until 2019, before the Democrats took back control of the House of Representatives. He has been serving as the Ranking Republican on the Committee since then.
In announcing his retirement, Brady noted that he hasn’t lost faith in Congress, but that his not being able to serve again as Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee (House Republican rules limit committee leadership roles to six years) should Republicans win back the House may have played a role in his decision.
“In the end, I’ll leave Congress the way I entered it, with the absolute belief that we are a remarkable nation—the greatest in history. Despite what the media and social media bombards you with each day, we are not the hateful, racist, divided nation they peddle. They are dead wrong. Turn oﬀ that noise and you’ll hear the true heartbeat of America,” Brady stated.
Enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) could arguably be his top accomplishment while serving as Chairman, which was the first major reform of the Internal Revenue Code since 1986. While the TCJA made some changes to the retirement tax system, the roughly $1.5 trillion tax reform legislation delivered major tax relief to corporations, pass-through entities and individual filers, and simplified the system in numerous ways.
Brady also was instrumental in helping the SECURE Act move through Congress and pass on a bipartisan basis in May 2019 by a vote of 417-3, before the legislation was enacted in December 2019. The wide-ranging legislation drew from several bipartisan bills to improve upon the success of the private employer-based retirement system by seeking to make it easier for businesses to offer retirement plans and for individuals to save for retirement. The SECURE Act was also an example of the bipartisanship that typically exists regarding retirement policy issues, as Brady and the Committee’s current Chairman, Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) worked together on the legislation.
That effort has further evolved with the introduction of the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2020—dubbed “SECURE Act 2.0”—in October 2020 by Neal and Brady. That measure seeks to build on the SECURE Act, with many retirement policy stakeholders believing that legislation could be enacted this Congress. The 132-page bill includes some 36 provisions addressing everything from expanding coverage and increasing retirement savings, to preservation of income, simplification and clarification of retirement plan rules, to technical and administrative provisions.
“Ranking Member Brady’s announcement to not seek reelection is a loss for both the Ways & Means Committee and Congress. Our working relationship has always been predicated on doing our best for this country we both love so dearly, and I respect his commitment to the people of Texas’s 8th Congressional District,” Chairman Neal stated after hearing that Brady will not be seeking reelection.
With Brady announcing his retirement and Sen. Rob Portman's (R-OH) previous announcement that he would retire, that would seem to ramp up the resolve to get bipartisan retirement legislation enacted in this session of Congress.