The Tax Reform Opportunity

May 23, 2017

Even in a highly polarized Congress, there is broad support for reforming the U.S. tax code. Tax reform done right would promote economic growth, reduce complexity, increase transparency and fairness, and improve the nation’s fiscal outlook. Yet getting major tax reform across a goal line has always been elusive.

At the 2017 Fiscal Summit, Wall Street Journal tax policy reporter Richard Rubin led a conversation with Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) on goals for tax reform legislation, the specific proposals under discussion, and how to overcome deeply entrenched interests across the economy.

Rubin followed this installment with an interview with House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).


Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX)

Kevin is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee — considered by many to be the most powerful committee in Congress, with jurisdiction over taxes, health care, Social Security, Medicare, international trade, and welfare.

A champion of free enterprise and American-made energy, Kevin’s focus is creating jobs, reducing Washington spending, and sunsetting obsolete federal agencies.

Kevin previously served as chairman of the influential Health Subcommittee for the House Ways and Means Committee. As chairman, he focused on ensuring a strong, free market in the nation’s health care industry and looking for ways to increase the quality of health care, while keeping costs low.

And as the former chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, Kevin has been a GOP leader on economic issues — opposing President Obama’s stimulus and fighting White House efforts to raise taxes on families, small businesses, and American energy producers.

Until 2013, Kevin was the leader of the Trade Subcommittee and led the successful effort to pass new sales agreements with Panama, South Korea, and Colombia — and he served as the White House point man on the successful passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement. On the Social Security Subcommittee, Kevin fought to preserve this important program for future generations once and for all.

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 one of the Ten Best Legislators for Families & Children. In 1994 he was named one of Five Outstanding Young Texans.

In order to stay close to the people he represents, Kevin never moved to Washington. He lives in Montgomery County with his wife Cathy and his two sons Will (18) and Sean (15) — and has logged nearly two million miles commuting to Congress each week.

Kevin is an original Hometown Hero of the Woodlands, a Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary, and a distinguished alumni of the University of South Dakota. He and his family attend Saints Simon and Jude Catholic Church.

Richard Rubin, U.S. Tax Policy Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

Richard Rubin is the U.S. tax policy reporter for The Wall Street Journal in Washington, focusing on the intersection of taxes, politics and economics. Before joining the Journal in 2015, he covered tax policy for Bloomberg News and Congressional Quarterly. He also wrote about local government and transportation policy for The Charlotte Observer. He is a native of New Jersey, a graduate of Duke University, and a resident of Washington.

COALITION FOR FISCAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY

A new statement urging policymakers to stabilize our national debt and renew and rebalance our national security strategies.

THE TAX REFORM OPPORTUNITY

Video: Our tax code is complex, unfair, and insufficient. Learn more about the opportunity we have to reform and improve tax policy.