US Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Woodlands, TX) has been selected as the next Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee. Congressman Brady will succeed Paul Ryan, who gave up the Chairmanship of the Committee to become Speaker of the House. The Ways & Means Committee has jurisdiction over tax, trade, healthcare, Social Security, welfare and unemployment policy, among other issues.

Mayer Brown recently hosted Chairman Brady at its annual Energy Tax Conference: Maximizing Value in Houston, Texas. In his presentation to the conference attendees, Chairman Brady focused on the need to reform the US income tax code and to expand and incentivize energy exploration and exploitation in the United States, particularly by lifting the ban on oil exports.

On tax policy, Chairman Brady has been the lead sponsor of legislation to expand and make permanent the R&D tax credit and repeal the estate tax, and he is a strong supporter of tax policy that incentives capital investment through accelerated cost recovery. Chairman Brady has also been very active in trade policy: he promotes expanded US trade through free trade agreements and supports reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. He has also been very active in health care policy, as a leading sponsor of recent legislation that reformed how Medicare pays physicians.

The combination of Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House and Kevin Brady as Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee will likely increase the amount of legislative activity on tax as well as other policies in 2016.