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CohnReznick Capitol Connection: The Team to Take on Tax Reform


11/5/15

Is it going to be a two-minute drill led by Brady? With not much time on the clock he will be the key guy to take the ball down the field. With less than one week to prepare after the new coach arrived, Brady now has to make it happen. Kevin Brady, not Tom.

With the Republican Steering Committee’s support, Rep. Kevin Brady is ready to lead the House Ways and Means Committee. It was one year ago that Brady challenged Paul Ryan for the Chairmanship, and many say the vote would have been close, had Brady not decided to step down and let Ryan run unopposed. And while the battle between Brady and Rep. Pat Tiberi was seen as too close to call by many in Washington, I was told last week that Brady would be the guy.

Chairman Brady now joins a half dozen other Texans who hold committee chairmanships, and he has Speaker Ryan to thank. Texas Republicans, while not represented in leadership, chair the Rules, Financial Services, Armed Services, Agricultural, Homeland Security, Science, and now Ways And Means Committees. And he has another Texan to thank, Dick Armey. Armey, as Majority Leader in 1996, made the decision to place Brady on the Ways and Means Committee.

Speaker Ryan had a lot of say in the choice and felt from his own experience as chairman that Brady would be the right choice to build a team that would tackle the biggest challenge our country faces: Tax Reform. The programs that are contained in the code as expenditures —LIHTC, NMTC, and Renewable Energy — will all face scrutiny. Each will have to clearly demonstrate that they provide for an activity that otherwise would not occur in the marketplace. On the other side, for appropriated housing, this summer Brady voted in favor of the THUD bill. Brady released the following statement on the passage of the 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Bill which funds the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies:

"To build a healthy economy, we must provide funding to critical infrastructure programs. We must make sure our nation's roads, skies, and ports keep America competitive by keeping our goods safely moving across the country and around the world."

That bill included HOME funding at $768 Million, with a total of $55.3 billion in discretionary funding – an increase of $1.5 billion from 2015 and $9.7 billion below the President’s budget request. This week, he has said that he would like to pass extenders permanently to clear the path to tax reform in 2017. This is exactly what Speaker Ryan told me last month, so you could say they have the same playbook.

Certainly, there is not much time on the clock, and hopefully the Highway Bill passed by the House today will come out of the House/Senate Conference and include our housing and NMTC provisions. If not there, we look to the Omnibus Bill to be taken up in December. There are 16 working days left on the legislative calendar for 2015, and I expect to see a no huddle offense from this new Republican team.

Bob Moss is a CohnReznick Principal and National Director of Governmental Affairs. Bob leads the Firm’s federal and state government relations efforts, particularly in the area of affordable housing. He can be reached at bob.moss@cohnreznick.com or 617-648-1406. For more legislative insight from Bob, visit our Capitol Connection webpage.


This has been prepared for information purposes and general guidance only and does not constitute professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication, and CohnReznick LLP, its members, employees and agents accept no liability, and disclaim all responsibility, for the consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it. 

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