McCarthy is rolling out the GOP agenda while eyeing the House majority, the speaker’s gavel
McCarthy is rolling out the GOP agenda while eyeing the House majority, the speaker’s gavel

McCarthy is rolling out the GOP agenda while eyeing the House majority, the speaker’s gavel

WASHINGTON — Weeks before the midterms, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy released a broad legislative agenda Friday that aims to unify his often-divided conference and demonstrate what House Republicans would do if voters return them to power.

The product of more than a year of work, the “Commitment to America” ​​platform focuses on four key pillars — the economy, public safety and security, and government freedom and accountability — areas that Republicans say President Joe Biden and his party are failing to deliver. – they approached. since taking control of Washington two years ago.

“What we’re launching today is a commitment to America in Washington — not Washington, DC, Washington County, Pennsylvania. Do you want to know why? It’s about you; it’s not about us,” McCarthy told a crowd at a sheet metal processing plant in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, just outside Pittsburgh.

“We want to roll it out to you, across the country, [so you] you know exactly what we will do, if you would trust us and give us the ability to take a new direction for this country. But commitment is a plan — a plan for a new direction.”

McCarthy said the first bill House Republicans would try to pass next year seeks to repeal the $80 billion in new IRS funding that was included in Biden’s Inflation Relief Act. He also said Republicans would pass a “Parents’ Bill of Rights” that would give parents more say in the curriculum taught in schools.

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McCarthy also promised to create a House Select Committee to investigate China.

Republicans have engaged in a listening tour with voters this summer, McCarthy said, noting the issues he said have come up the most: inflation, high gas and food prices; migrants and Fentanyl drugs crossing the southern border; increasing crime rates; and young students left behind by pandemic-related school closures.

Democrats “control the House, the Senate, the White House. They control the committees, they control the agencies … but they have no plan to fix all the problems they’ve created,” McCarthy added.

The unveiling of McCarthy’s plan highlights a strategic break with his Senate counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has decided not to release a legislative agenda before the election. Instead, McConnell is betting that keeping up the attacks on Biden, whose approval rating is in the water, is all it takes to wrest control of the Senate from Democrats.

McCarthy, however, believes Republicans need to say what they stand for in order to win back the lower chamber, which they last controlled in 2018.

For example, to address high gas and energy prices and reduce dependence on foreign countries, Republicans say they want to boost domestic production of oil and natural gas and cut permit processing times in half.

To address rising crime, Republicans would support hiring 200,000 more police officers with recruiting bonuses. It would also end remote or “proxy” voting, which was instituted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a health measure during the pandemic but is still in use.

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The commitment to America is reminiscent of Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America agenda, which in 1994 helped propel House Republicans to power for the first time in 40 years. Gingrich was elected speaker after those midterms, a path McCarthy hoped to follow.

Election observers favored Republicans to retake the House on November 8; he has to raise a net of only five places to take control.

After speaking to Republicans on Capitol Hill Thursday, Gingrich praised McCarthy’s plan as “much deeper and more complex” than his own agenda 28 years ago. McCarthy’s offers more than 100 policy proposals, a website and a Spanish-language section that will help members and candidates communicate the GOP message to voters, the former speaker said.

“The unity there was amazing,” Gingrich said, walking out of the closed-door meeting. “I mean, I was amazed at the members who normally find a reason not to be together, standing up and saying, ‘We’re on the same team.’

There was also a united front flanking McCarthy.

The two Republicans who last served as speaker — John Boehner and Paul Ryan — were ousted after public clashes with the far-right Freedom Caucus. But Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., a top ally of Donald Trump and one of the most prominent figures in the Freedom Caucus, sat on stage Friday, right behind McCarthy. A few seats away was one of the GOP’s most moderate members, Rep. Dave Joyce of Ohio.

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“If you look around, we have members here from New York to the border with Tony Gonzales. We have people who have different approaches from Dave Joyce to Marjorie Taylor Greene,” said Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., who introduced McCarthy and represents the district where the launch took place.

“But we are all united behind Kevin McCarthy. He is the one who unifies the party. He is the one who came up with this plan. He is the one who will take most of us back.”

Democrats have acknowledged they face an uphill battle in holding the House, but believe they have deep momentum after the Supreme Court voted to overturn abortion rights and a string of legislative victories.

Later Friday, Biden will deliver a rebuttal at a campaign event in Washington, DC, pointing to a revival in US manufacturing and the economy’s recovery from the COVID recession, aides said. He will also push for passage this summer of the Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to lower health care costs and combat climate change.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, the House Democrats’ 2022 campaign chief, mocked the Gingrich-influenced GOP plan, saying “McCarthy is warming up the scraps.”

“It’s hard to make a commitment to America when a lot of your members are supposed to be committed,” Maloney said.

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