Leader McConnell Pays Tribute to Jay Khosla

‘A team player. An honest broker. Jay doesn’t just want to get big things done. He wants to get them done the right way… So we’re really going to miss him. And we thank him for everything. But we feel certain his next chapters will bring new happiness all their own.’

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor thanking trusted advisor and friend, Jay Khosla, for his years of Senate service :

‘I have a duty this morning that somehow ranks among my favorite activities and least favorite activities simultaneously.

‘The good news is I get to recognize a key member of my staff who I’ve come to know and admire a great deal.

‘The bad news is the occasion: This week, after 15 years of outstanding service, he’s bidding farewell to the Senate.

‘So I’m unhappy with the circumstances. But I could not be happier to talk about Jay Khosla.

‘For just shy of two years, Jay has served as my Chief Economic Policy Counsel. Trade. Taxes. Banking and financial services. Pensions and retirement. Housing. For two years, any answer I needed on any of these subjects was one phone call, one e-mail, or one quick meeting away. 

‘You can go a long way in this town if you master either the policy details of big issues or the politics surrounding those issues. Jay’s mastered both.

‘When you have a lot of talent and intelligence, major projects tend to find their way to your desk. So consider the fact that Jay has been at the center of practically every major economic policy achievement over the past decade-plus.

‘Jay arrived as a young healthcare staffer for then-Majority Leader Bill Frist. Talk about an opening act. Not just working for a Majority Leader, but one who was also an M.D. and who focused on healthcare.

‘The bar was set high. But Jay exceeded it.

‘He moved to the Budget Committee. Then he crafted policy for Senator McCain’s presidential campaign. And then he returned to work for Senator Hatch and the Finance Committee.

‘Before long, Jay was Senator Hatch’s secret weapon. And as he rose through the ranks — to Policy Director, to Staff Director — he rapidly became a not-so-secret weapon. An invaluable asset to his Chairman, to the committee, and really to the entire Conference. His relationships extended across the aisle, too. Our Democratic colleagues respect him greatly. 

‘His colleagues on the committee remember that even when it might have been easier to pull back behind party lines and just try to craft a bill within the majority, Jay stayed stubbornly dedicated to the bipartisan process as long as possible.

‘A team player. An honest broker. Jay doesn’t just want to get big things done. He wants to get them done the right way.

‘Trade Promotion Authority in 2015. Historic tax reform in 2017. USMCA this past year.

‘These huge accomplishments and many more — like fighting the opioid epidemic, and fixing the dysfunctional Sustainable Growth Rate that had plagued Medicare.

‘All of them had this staff leader right at their center. In many cases, his work started months or years in advance, meeting with leaders and pouring the foundation for new policy. And he stayed on the case right through the finish line. 

‘Needless to say, this is a resume that basically anyone in Washington D.C. would kill for. But effectiveness is only part of Jay’s magic. 

‘The colleagues whom Jay supervised at the Finance Committee remember a boss who was kind, generous, patient, and unflappable even as he guided them through legislation of the highest consequence.

‘More recently, we in the Majority Leader’s office have relished his laugh-out-loud punchlines, his deadpan sarcasm, and his creative nicknames. Jay’s willing to take everyone down a peg when they need it — including himself.

‘I’ve worked with all kinds of talented staff, but I have to say, the demeanor that Jay brings to work is… somewhat unique. Despite being so knowledgeable, connected, and hard-working, Jay seems to flow through all the challenges with confidence and calmness that almost border on relaxation.

‘If you didn’t know better, you’d almost be suspicious. Somehow you never see Jay sweat.

‘Well, not in the office, anyway. Jay’s colleagues like to rib him about the personal training regimen he maintains, along with the ultra-healthy diet and other enviable aspects of work-life balance that he’s somehow managed to carve out in this place that is notorious for none of the above.

‘It’s all part of the unique Jay Khosla magic.

‘This is someone who has been known to reply to serious e-mail inquiries with a funny photo of a cat dangling from a tree branch, captioned “Hang In There!” Someone who frequently concludes his answers to pressing questions, including from Senators, with a smile and this catchphrase: “I have a feeling it’s all going to work out.”

‘Somebody less accomplished would never get away with this. From someone with less mastery of the details, you would scoff and find someone else to talk to. But when it’s Jay, you know everything will work out, because he’s the one on the case. 

‘Jay helps make everyone around him as calm, confident, and cheerful as he is. It’s not just because of his charisma. It’s because he is so good at his job. 

‘So, look — it’s never fun to bid farewell to someone who’s a big part of the brains of your operation. And it’s never fun to say goodbye to someone who’s a big part of the heart of your team, either. So it’s really no fun to say goodbye to somebody who’s managed to be both.

‘Jay’s only formally worked for me for a couple of years, but he’s been a trusted advisor and an honorary part of my team far longer. He’s been a big part of the Senate for more than a decade.

‘But when I say that Jay knows how to prioritize, I mean it. And his real bottom line is family.

‘He and his beloved wife Lisa have two boys, Shya and Asher. They form a tight-knit unit together with Jay’s parents, Vijay and Suman; and his sister, Anchal; and beyond.

‘Jay may have made it look suspiciously easy all these years. But jobs like this never are easy, least of all for family. It turns out the Khosla clan would like to see a little more of this guy. And Jay doesn’t mind the sound of a new chapter and some new challenges either.

‘So we’re really going to miss him. And we thank him for everything. But we feel certain his next chapters will bring new happiness all their own.

‘As a wise man once told me — “I have a feeling it’s all going to work out.”

Related Issues: Tributes