Rep. Brady Touts Friendship With Ways and Means Chair Rival Ryan

Friday, 07 Mar 2014 04:51 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Texas Rep. Kevin Brady is touting his friendship with fellow House Ways and Means Committee member Rep. Paul Ryan, saying there’s little reason the pair would get down and dirty in an expected battle for the gavel of the powerful tax-writing committee.

“I don’t expect it to be acrimonious,” Brady said during a taping of C-SPAN’s "Newsmakers."

“We are friends. We talk about this.”

The “Newsmakers” interview will air Sunday.

Brady, the second-most senior Republican on Ways and Means – behind current chairman Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, who must relinquish the title in 2015 because of term limits – declared Feb. 28 that he was “qualified and prepared to lead this committee.”

And by doing so, Brady set up a challenge to the nationally known Ryan, who’s already made his case for seeking the chairmanship.

"He's a terrific leader, a good friend," Brady had said when he unveiled his plan.

But Brady said he’s in no rush, concentrating now on trying to pass a repeal of the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula that could cut a doctor’s pay under the program.

“At the right time I am going to make that case to my colleagues,” he said. “The time is not quite right.”

Brady said he’s also anxious to get to work on Camp’s tax reform proposal.

“I think the next four or five months are critical in terms of getting feedback,” he said, rejecting suggestions that Speaker John Boehner’s oft-quoted “blah, blah, blah blah” remark to questions about tax reform didn’t mean he thought the issue wasn’t important.

“You know, how I interpreted the Speaker's words are ‘I am very excited about these next steps of tax reform,'" he said.

But Brady wouldn’t predict a “timetable” for House action on reform, noting members are trying to present a unified front going into November elections, and that tax reform would be a part of that.

“We are not nearly as united as we would like to be,” he said. “I know a lot of work is being done to find that common ground.”

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