Hours after Paul D. Ryan was sworn in as speaker, Rep. Kevin Brady made his pitch to succeed the Wisconsin Republican on the Ways and Means Committee.
"We need a pro-growth conservative who can advance Paul Ryan's pro-growth agenda," the Texas Republican said during a taping of C-SPAN's "Newsmakers," which airs Sunday. Brady announced his intent to run for chairman of the powerful tax-writing committee even before Ryan's election as speaker, but the race kicked off Thursday once Ryan was sworn in.
Brady's only opponent is Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio. The two men share similar policy platforms and legislative objectives, but Brady is running on his seniority. With Ryan gone, Brady is the second most senior member of the panel; Tiberi is No. 4.
He is also touting his experience running two subcommittees and his role in helping craft and sell the "Doc Fix" legislation earlier this year, but he refused to compare himself with his opponent.
In the C-SPAN interview, which was conducted by two reporters from CQ Roll Call and The Wall Street Journal, Brady brushed off concerns about Lone Star State fatigue hurting his bid — he would be the seventh Texas Republican chairman in the current Congress.
"It's not about one state," Brady said.
He also sought to cast himself as the logical successor to Ryan as a legislator and a leader.
"Every member wants to make sure, in the Republican House, that they have a say, that they have a say in matters, that their ideas are heard, that they have representatives at every level," Brady said.
"He was very entrepreneurial whether you were the newest member or the longest-serving member, if you did your work, if you had a good idea, worked through the cost of it, counted your noses and were ready to go, those are the bills that moved," Brady said of Ryan's leadership of the committee. "... That's how I'm going to run the committee [and] that's how Speaker Ryan's going to run the House."
Pledging to proceed with Ryan's dogged efforts to overhaul the tax code and pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Brady said he would "hit the ground running" to pick up where the former chairman left off, though a timetable to pick Ryan's successor has not yet been laid out.
The chairman election is not yet scheduled. It could take place before or after major changes are made to the membership configuration of the Steering Committee, which makes most committee assignments.
Ryan has committed to fostering a process of overhauling the official House rules to make conference governance more inclusive and collaborative, starting with Steering. He set a deadline of Thanksgiving for those changes, which is several weeks away, but many members have expressed a desire to see the the changes go into effect before the next chairman race.