The Hill’s Top Tax Man Sees Reagan-Style Tax Reform On The Horizon
April 18, 2016
He’s only been in his chair since November, and already Rep. Kevin Brady sees three reasons America is ripe for reform.
Brady, a Texas Republican, has occupied Speaker Paul Ryan‘s old chairmanship at the House Ways and Means Committee since Ryan took the top spot in the House. With both sides of the political spectrum in agreement that the current tax code is not serving Americans well, Brady said lawmakers have a unique opportunity to make significant changes.
“[The reform effort] seems to be mirroring a time leading up to the Reagan tax reform. You had three really key elements, one we had an American public who sick and tired of the tax code, it was too complicated to follow – everyone got a tax break but them, they were ready for a change and that’s where we’re at,” Brady said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Secondly, we have good ideas bubbling up from members of Congress, in that case Jack Kemp and Bill Bradley and others, in this case we have fair taxes and flat taxes and cash flow taxes and Reagan-style reforms as well as the Camp drive – we mirror that.
“The third element was presidential leadership, which is why we’re anxious for a new president in 2017, everything we are doing right now is focused toward that reform in 2017.”
While getting conservative legislation through Congress can be difficult with a Democrat in the White House, Brady said he has learned to work with the other side and has good relationships with many of his colleagues, including ranking member Rep. Sandy Levin of Michigan.
“We go to our corners on a number of issues, we see very differently, on the other hand, we’ve had some success. Even though philosophically we are very different, when we can find common ground, we try to,” he said. “No one party will have the White House and the super majority, and while it may not be bipartisan at every step of the process, at the end of the day there will be shared idea in there.”
Brady has not been in his role for long, he said the fast transition worked to his advantage in moving issues like the permanent tax extender package, the customs bill recently sent to the president’s desk and now addressing trade with the miscellaneous tariff bill.
Brady said Ryan, in addition to former Chairman Dave Camp, Chairman Bill Archer and Chairman Bill Thomas were helpful on providing guidance on how to navigate his new position.
“There were two big pieces of advice Paul gave me that the others echoed: one was keep your family schedule, this may be a committee of importance, but keep that weekly commute back home, stay close to your family, which is something I am doing and it’s great advice,” he said. “Secondly, each of them said the years will go by so quickly and your days will full, make sure every day you are making progress on your priorities – so tax reform, entitlement reform, trade, all those issues we make sure that happens each day, because schedules are hectic. It was good advice.”