U.S. Representative, District 8
Steve Toth ✔✔
Texas Patriots PAC endorses Steve Toth
Steve Toth is a successful small business owner of two companies – a pool design and build firm and a pool maintenance firm - as well as an ordained minister. In 2012, his passion for limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets drove him to run for the Texas House of Representatives against moderate incumbent Rep. Rob Eissler, who was a powerful ally to liberal Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. Mr. Toth campaigned hard to defeat Rep. Eissler by educating voters about the failed Republican leadership in the Texas House, and succeeded 56.5% to 43.5% because voters listened to his message and demanded better representation in our state government.
In the Texas House, Rep. Toth was a firebrand conservative legislator who constantly challenged the liberal Austin agenda. Much like Senator Ted Cruz challenging the Republican leadership in Washington, Rep. Toth from day one was a conservative thorn in the side of Republican leadership in Austin. Not long after being elected, Rep. Toth gained national attention with his “Firearms Protection Act,” (HB 1076) which would have made it a class A misdemeanor to interfere with a Texan’s Second Amendment rights. The bill passed with a supermajority in the House, and went on to inspire other state legislatures to pass similar laws to protect against potential federal gun restrictions enacted by the Obama administration. Rep. Toth also received acclaim for authoring the “CSCOPE Transparency Act,” (HB 760) which passed the House as well. This bill put an end to the CSCOPE curriculum which was being used in 80% of public schools and included liberal indoctrination lessons from President Obama’s Common Core. Rep. Toth earned the title of Taxpayer Champion by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, earned a 112% pro-life rating by Texas Right to Life, and ranked as the 2nd most conservative house member in Texas by the Young Conservatives of Texas.
The Madison Project is an organization that ranks congressional districts based on how conservative they are, and then ranks legislators’ voting records based on the most popular conservative scorecards issued by Heritage Action and Club for Growth. This allows voters to see how their legislators are performing based on how they should be voting relative to their district. The 8th Congressional District is the 4th most conservative district in the entire country, with a rating of R+29. Yet, Rep. Brady’s low marks from conservative organizations gives him a performance index rating of -24.5 – meaning the Congressman votes as if he lives in a swing district. The Madison Project has endorsed Mr. Toth as the candidate more suited to represent the values of the district, and we agree.
We believe that the Washington machine is fueled by legislators like Kevin Brady who vote to perpetuate their own careers and take their advice from political insiders and lobbyists more than their own constituents. Steve Toth proved during his time in the Texas House that he is unable to be swayed by the political elites and is willing to stand up against the big spenders in both parties. For years, Kevin Brady has not had a serious challenger at the ballot box. Steve Toth is the candidate that conservatives in the 8th district have been waiting for. Mr. Toth has fought for conservative values and limited government in Texas in the same manner we’ve seen from Ted Cruz in the Senate. We enthusiastically endorse Steve Toth for Congress as the candidate voters can trust to take on the Washington cartel.
Rep. Brady willingly participates in the show votes that Republican leadership conducts in order for members to maintain the conservative façade for the voters of their district. His true record, however, is best illustrated by the example of his most recent vote for the $1.15 trillion Omnibus spending bill which loaded future generations with debt and fully funded Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, President Obama’s executive amnesty, and the Syrian refugee resettlement. This vote was praised by President Obama and the Democrat leadership, who got everything they wanted in the bill without so much as a fight. This type of behavior is unacceptable from a party who controls both the House and the Senate, and the problem lies with the Republican leadership, of which Rep. Brady is a part.
Kevin Brady was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1996. Prior to this, he served as the State Representative in the Texas House (elected in 1990) while also working as an executive for The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce. Before moving to The Woodlands, Rep. Brady worked as an executive with the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce and, before that, the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce in his native South Dakota.
Rep. Brady’s tenure in Congress can be summarized in the context of how he frequently utilizes the phrase, “taking the tough votes.” To the average voter, a “tough vote” most likely refers to a legislator taking a principled stand against business-as-usual in Washington by going against the party or the party’s leadership. In this context, the tough choice is to stand with your principles and the principles of your district rather than what Washington wants you to do. However, Rep. Brady frequently uses the phrase to defend the votes he takes which are popular in Washington, but are unpopular in his district. Consider Rep. Brady’s most recent usage of the phrase in defending his support of the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, which gave President Obama and the Democrats everything they wanted – a very unpopular action to take from the viewpoint of the voters in the 8th district:
“I don’t believe voters sent me to Congress to be popular but instead to take the tough votes to get America back on track. I know that makes some voters unhappy, but I’ve got the backbone to do the right thing even if it’s unpopular.” (Jordan, J. (2016, January 9). Brady’s involvement in omnibus bill topic at LCARW forum. The Courier of Montgomery County, pp. 1A, 3A. Also online in separate op-ed here.)
Rep. Brady obviously crafted this statement with the type of political rhetoric that is usually attractive to voters, but it doesn’t take more than a second glance to realize that when he speaks of being unpopular due to his votes, he is not speaking of being unpopular in Washington, but rather of being unpopular with conservatives in his district. Similarly, when he speaks of “doing the right thing” and getting “America back on track,” he is speaking of voting the party line.
To our knowledge, there are no votes that demonstrate Rep. Brady has ever taken what conservative voters would categorize as a “tough vote,” where he stood with principle over party. This 20-year pattern has benefited Rep. Brady’s career, as he was most recently elected to the powerful position of Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. And Rep. Brady does not try to hide the fact that his goal has been to climb the ranks of the Republican leadership under John Boehner and others, as he recently defended his reelection bid by saying “I have worked my way up and can make a bigger difference.”
Anyone who has attended one of Rep. Brady’s town hall meetings over the past 20 years can point to a couple of good policies the congressman continuously talks about, but on which no meaningful achievements have been accomplished – namely, repealing the death tax and reforming the tax code. (Two red-meat issues every Republican in the country can claim to support.) The two questions voters have to ask themselves are:
- Has it been worth 20 years of Congressman Brady’s poor voting record to keep him in office simply because he now chairs a powerful committee?
- Will Rep. Brady deviate from his 20-year pattern of party-line votes now that he chairs this powerful committee?
We have no reason to believe that Rep. Brady’s behavior will change after 20 years simply because he is now the chair of the Ways and Means committee. Rep. Brady has shown that he votes to please the party leadership, which indicates that the only factor that would change Rep. Brady’s voting habits would be a change in the leadership, which has not happened with newly elected Speaker Paul Ryan.
Rep. Brady’s votes over the years have included:
- Kevin Brady voted for the recent $1.15 trillion Omnibus bill, formally known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which gave President Obama and the Democrats everything they wanted and left the next generation with $780 billion of additional debt. Rep. Brady and the Republican leadership failed to take a stand on any part of the bill, which fully funds the resettlement of 170,000 Syrian refugees into the United States, Sanctuary Cities, President Obama’s executive amnesty, Planned Parenthood, and many other items Republicans refused to fight against. The bill also quadruples H-2B foreign worker visas, funds immigration programs from jihadist-prone regions, funds tax credits for illegal aliens, and locks in a $50 billion spending increase. Democrats even held a press conference to celebrate the passage of this bill, which Kevin Brady called a “tough vote,” but one that he was proud to make.
- Kevin Brady continuously supports the crony-capitalist Export-Import bank which hands out corporate welfare in the form of trade subsidies to politically-connected corporations (HR 597, 2015; HR 22, 2015; HR 2072, 2012).
- Kevin Brady continuously votes against attempts to reign in the warrantless, unconstitutional domestic surveillance of U.S. citizens under the NSA. (H.Amdt 503 to HR 2685, 2015; H.Amdt. 935 to HR 4870, 2014; H.Amdt. 413 to HR 2397, 2013)
- Kevin Brady voted for No Child Left Behind (HR 1, 2001), and for its reauthorization in 2015. (S. 1177)
- Kevin Brady voted for the Patriot Act (HR 3162, 2001), and the most recent reauthorization of several key parts of it (S. 990, 2011). In 2015, other provisions, such as the bulk collection of phone records of American citizens, were reauthorized under the USA Freedom Act, (HR 2048), which Rep. Brady also supported.
- Kevin Brady voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, (HR 1, 2003) otherwise known as Medicare Part D, which established a prescription drug entitlement.
- Kevin Brady voted for both TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) bills during the financial crisis of 2008, which were largely supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. The bills (HR 3997 and HR 1424) included a $700 billion bailout of the big banks and financial industry.
- HR 749 (2015) - $7.2 billion to fund Amtrak and other rail programs
- HR 6 (2015) - The “21st Century Cures Act,” which created a new mandatory funding stream outside budget control caps that do not have to re-justify themselves every year
- H.Amdt. 713 to HR 702 (2015) – Kevin Brady voted against this amendment which would have stripped a $500 million maritime labor union buyoff from an otherwise good bill which would have ended the embargo on exporting crude oil.
- HR 3762 (2015) – The “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act” did not restore Americans’ healthcare freedom because it left in place the main pillars of Obamacare and did not defund Planned Parenthood.
- HR 1314 (2015) – The “Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015” gave President Obama fast-track authority, or Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), for the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). Free Trade Agreements are typically a good thing, though this one became a special-interest boondoggle of protectionism and welfare. The bill also included a clean suspension of the debt limit until March 2017 equal to roughly $1.5 trillion, and a $112 billion spending increase that busted the 2011 budget caps.
- HR 2 (2015) – The “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act” repealed the Sustainable Growth Rate of Medicare and extended the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is expected to cost over $500 billion over the next two decades
- HR 22 (2015) - The 1,300 page $305 billion highway bailout bill of 2015, which members only had 72 hours to read. The bill spent more on transportation than either House or Senate passed bill – over $70 billion in excess of the Highway Trust Fund revenue - and financed the increased spending with budget gimmicks. The bill also reauthorized the Export-Import bank, funded local bus systems and rail projects, and empowered the IRS to use private debt collectors to collect taxes and also gave the agency the authority to deny passports to Americans.
- HR 240 (2015) – Kevin Brady did not vote on the motion to kill the bill which would have funded President Obama’s executive amnesty.
- HR 2642 (2014) – Five year reauthorization of the Farm Bill which undid some modest conservative reforms to food stamps and crop insurance and will spend nearly $1 trillion over ten years and is loaded with corporate welfare and special carve-outs for politically connected corporations.
- HR 83 (2014) - Otherwise known as the CRomnibus, this bill was a continuing resolution to fund the government to the tune of over a trillion dollars with no reforms to out-of-control spending. Packed with dozens of riders nobody read or had a chance to vote on individually.
- HR 325 (2013) – raised the debt ceiling
- H.Res. 99 (2013) – A rule that prevented debate about the continuing resolution to fund the government at over $1 trillion a year.
- HR 2642 (2013) – This Farm Bill made billions in subsidies to agricultural corporations and dozens of handouts to special industries permanent, instead of making free market reforms. It also included a “shallow loss” crop insurance entitlement.
- Meadows Letter (2013) – Kevin Brady did not sign on to the Mark Meadows letter which committed members to stand firm against funding Obamacare through the continuing resolution (a must-pass bill) rather than continuing to make symbolic votes on ineffective bills.
- H.J. Res. 59 (2013) – The Ryan/Murray budget agreement which busted the spending caps by $63 billion over two years.
- HR 4105 (2012) – Imposed tariffs (taxes) on imported goods. This is not a free market position, and only passes the cost down to the consumer.
- HR 4628 (2012) – Kept student loan rates artificially low, which costs taxpayers billions of dollars, distorts the market and encourages colleges to charge more in tuition.
- Motion to instruct conferees on HR 4348 (2012) – This motion would have capped the amount of highway spending on the amount of revenue taken in by the gas tax. Kevin Brady voted against it, and subsequently voted for HR 4348, thereby supporting the pattern of the government spending more than it takes in and propping this bad behavior up with bailouts.
- HR 5972 (2012) – Fully funded the Department of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development without making any cuts. This funded Amtrak, Essential Air Service, and community block grants.
- HR 8 (2012) – The “Taxpayer Relief Act” brokered by Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff.” The bill contains a $30 billion extension for unemployment benefits and reauthorizes the 2008 Farm Bill for 9 months. The bill also allows the payroll tax holiday to expire, effectively raising taxes on 77% of taxpayers, yet extends dozens of tax credits and deductions that amount to corporate welfare for special interests. It also failed to extend the Bush tax cuts to all Americans.
- HJ Res 48 (2011) – This bill funded the unsustainable deficit spending of the government through a Continuing Resolution, as it had done for three years, which averts the more transparent process of passing a budget.
- S 365 (2011) – This bill was called the “Budget Control Act” and allowed President Obama to raise the debt ceiling to over $16 trillion in exchange for vague promises of spending cuts.
- HR 2608 (2011) – This bill funded the unsustainable deficit spending of the government through a continuing resolution, as it had done for three years, which averts the more transparent process of passing a budget.
- HR 2832 (2011) – This bill picks favorites among trading partners and disrupts the price system.
- HR 4899 (2010) – Making emergency supplemental appropriations to disaster relief and summer jobs.
- HR 2346 (2009) – This bill included a $100 million bailout of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
- HR 1256 (2009) – This bill gave significantly more power to the Food and Drug Administration over the tobacco industry, thereby perpetuating the nanny state.
- HR 1108 (2008) – This bill allows the Food and Drug Administration to issue a new tax to cover its expanded regulatory program.
- H.Amdt. 904 to HR 5384 (2006) – Kevin Brady voted against this amendment which would have prevented the bill from using money to fund “dairy education” in Iowa.
- H.Amdt. 911 to HR 5384 (2006) – Kevin Brady voted against this amendment which would have prohibited the bill from funding the National Grape and Wine Initiative.
- H.Amdt. 1036 to HR 5576 (2006) – Kevin Brady voted against this amendment which would have prohibited the use of funds for renovating a city-owned pool in Banning, California.
- H.Amdt. 1066 to HR 5631 (2006) – Kevin Brady voted against this amendment which would have prohibited funds from being used at the Institute for Exploration at Mystic Aquarium in New London, Connecticut.
- HR 3 (2005) – Thanks to thousands of wasteful earmarks, this $295 billion transportation bill was $11 billion larger than the agreed upon allotment of funds.
- HR 22 (2005) – This bill was a taxpayer bailout of the Postal Service.
- Kevin Brady voted for John Boehner each time for Speaker of the House.
Kevin Brady has a ranking of F from Mark Levin’s Conservative Review, a 55% from Heritage Action (below the average Republican), and a Madison Project ranking of 65.5%. The Madison project ranks Rep. Brady’s performance index at a -24.5, meaning Rep. Brady’s district is far more conservative than he votes.
After 20 years in Congress, we believe Kevin Brady has shown that he is unwilling to fight for the conservative values of his district.
Craig McMichael is a Network Engineer and Marine veteran who also ran against Rep. Brady in 2014. Mr. McMichael holds deeply conservative values and we have the utmost respect for him, though we do not see a path to victory in his campaign.
Lt. Col. Andre Dean is a teacher and 27-year army combat veteran who previously ran against Kevin Brady in 1998. Like Mr. McMichael, Mr. Dean has a passion for conservative values that we respect, however, we do not see a path to victory in his campaign.