On April 14, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX, 8) announced he will not be seeking reelection in 2022, and that he will be retiring from Congress at the conclusion of this term. Brady is the eighth member of the House of Representative to make such an announcement so far this Congress, including five members of the GOP. What sets his announcement apart from others is the coveted seat he holds as the highest ranking Republican member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.
During his tenure on the committee, Brady played an important role in the 2017 tax cut bill, helping to write the legislation that became one of the defining accomplishments of the Trump Administration. In his last term, he is leading the opposition to the Biden Administration’s tax plan, which would serve to dismantle much of the legislation imposed in the 2017 bill.
Within the House, the Republican party follows term limit rules in regards to committee leadership. Those rules limit members to serving three consecutive terms in the highest ranking party position for a committee, not including half terms. Brady assumed the role of head Republican in 2015, during the 114th Congress, after former Rep. Paul Ryan left the position to assume the role of Speaker of the House. So regardless of retirement, Brady would have had to step down from the position at the conclusion of the 117th Congress. The representative said this affected his decision to retire, “some.”
Because of the approaching term limit, Republicans had been quietly planning potential contenders to take over the seat, but Brady’s retirement announcement has kicked the race for the seat into overdrive.
Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA, 22), the most senior Republican on the committee following Brady, is largely seen as the clear choice for the position. Nunes acts as a close ally to Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA, 23) and is renowned for his unparalleled fundraising skills – but accepting the position would require him to step down from his role as head Republican of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence due to rule precluding members from holding multiple committee leadership positions.
While Nunes is the front runner at the moment, several other GOP members have made it clear they intend to throw their hat in the ring for the race for Ranking Membership. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL, 16) has made clear he is actively and aggressively pursuing the position. As the third senior most member on the committee, a former businessman, and one of the wealthiest members of Congress, Buchanan believes to be more than qualified for the role.
Reps. Adrian Smith (R-NE, 3), Jason Smith (R-MO, 8), and Mike Kelly (R-PA, 16) are also rumored to be joining the race for the position, but with nearly two years until the new Congress there is plenty of time for changeups in the contenders.