Richard E. Neal was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and was raised and educated in the City of Springfield. He is a graduate of American International College, where he received his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. He received his Masters Degree in Public Administration from the Barney School of Business and Public Administration at the University of Hartford.
Congressman Neal was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1988 and served his first two terms on the House Banking Committee before joining the Ways and Means Committee in 1993. In January 2019, Congressman Neal was elected by his colleagues to assume the esteemed position of Chairman, marking the first time since 1875 that a representative from Massachusetts had done so.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Congressman Neal and the Ways and Means Committee worked tirelessly to bring relief to the American people.
The first relief bill, the CARES Act, included several provisions Ways and Means Committee Democrats secured including: federal unemployment compensation, economic assistance payments, and telehealth flexibility. This bill singlehandedly saved the American economy.
In the American Rescue Plan Act, the Ways and Means Committee was responsible for nearly $1 billion of the $1.9 trillion package. Under Chairman Neal’s leadership, the bill put more money directly into people’s pockets, helping them better afford child care and health coverage. It also shored up the hard-earned retirement security for millions of Americans nationwide.
Chairman Neal is the dean of both the Massachusetts Delegation and the New England Congressional Delegation. He is an At-Large Whip for the House Democrats and is the Democratic Leader of the Friends of Ireland Caucus.
He is a long-time guest lecturer at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and a National Trustee of John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. Congressman Neal has received many awards and honorary degrees in his career including an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters from Mount Holyoke College where he is a former trustee, and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from Ulster University in Northern Ireland.
Prior to his time in Congress, Neal was a high school teacher, member of the Springfield City Council, and Mayor of the City of Springfield from 1984 to 1988.