WASHINGTON — Weeks before midterms, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy introduced a sweeping legislative agenda Friday that aims to unify his often-divided conference and shows what House Republicans would do if voters put them back in power.
The result of more than a year of work, the “Commitment to America” platform focuses on four key pillars – the economy, security and public safety, freedom and government accountability – areas that Republicans say President Joe Biden and his party have not addressed since he took control of Washington two years ago.
“What we will be rolling out today is a commitment to America in Washington – not in Washington, DC, in Washington County, Pennsylvania. you want to know why? It’s about you; it’s not about us,” McCarthy told a crowd at a sheet metal factory in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, just outside Pittsburgh.
“We want to roll it out to you, across the country, [so you] know exactly what we will do, if you could 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 will try to pass next year seeks to repeal the $80 billion in new IRS funding included in the Inflation Cut Act. Biden. He also said Republicans would aim to pass a “parents’ bill of rights” that would give parents more influence over the curriculum taught in schools.
McCarthy also promised to create a House select committee to investigate China.
Republicans embarked on a listening tour with their constituents this summer, McCarthy said, noting the issues he says have been talked about the most: inflation, high gas and oil prices. grocery ; migrants and Fentanyl drugs crossing the southern border; soaring crime rates; and young students who have fallen behind due to 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 decided not to release a legislative agenda before the election. Instead, McConnell is betting that sustaining attacks on Biden, whose approval rating is underwater, is all that is needed to wrest control of the Senate from Democrats.
McCarthy, however, thinks Republicans have to say what they want to win back the lower house, which they last controlled in 2018.
For example, to combat high gas and energy prices and reduce dependence on foreign countries, Republicans say they want to boost domestic oil and natural gas production and halve the duration of the authorization process.
To address rising crime, Republicans would support hiring 200,000 more police officers with recruiting bonuses. They would also end remote or “proxy” voting, which was put in place by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a health measure during the pandemic but is still in use.
Biden responded to McCarthy later Friday at a Democratic National Committee event in Washington, D.C., saying the Minority Leader’s plan contained “little to no detail” and argued that some of his priorities — including including public safety – were inconsistent with those of the Republican Party. Shares.
“MAGA Republicans did not side with law enforcement. They sided with the insurgents — and they still do,” Biden said, echoing a criticism he often leveled at former President Donald Trump’s GOP supporters. “Don’t tell me you support law enforcement if you can’t condemn what happened on January 6.”
Biden said McCarthy’s plan also failed to address issues important to voters such as access to abortion, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. And he accused Republicans of “fiscal recklessness” and said the party “blew up the deficit” under Trump.
“I think we’re really at an inflection point. It happens every three, four or five generations,” Biden said. “It’s consequential. You now have 46 days to choose and the path proposed by the Democrats contrasts with that proposed by the MAGA Republicans.
The Commitment to America is reminiscent of Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America program, which in 1994 helped propel House Republicans to power for the first time in 40 years. Gingrich was elected president after those midterms, a path McCarthy hopes to follow.
Election observers favored the Republicans to win back the House on November 8; they must pick up a net of just five seats to take control.
After speaking to Republicans on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Gingrich hailed 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 in there was amazing,” Gingrich said, walking out of the closed-door meeting. “I mean, I was amazed to see members who normally find a reason not to be together by standing up and saying, ‘We’re on the same team.'”
There was also a united front alongside McCarthy.
The two Republican men who last served as president – John Boehner and Paul Ryan – were ousted from power after public clashes with the far-right Freedom Caucus. But Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., one of Donald Trump’s top allies and one of the most prominent figures in the Freedom Caucus, was seated on stage Friday just behind McCarthy. A few seats further on was one of the more moderate members of the GOP, Rep. Dave Joyce of Ohio.
“If you look around you, we have members here from New York all the way 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 who represents the district where the deployment took place.
“But we are all united behind Kevin McCarthy. It is he who unifies the party. He’s the one who came up with this plan. It is he who will take back the majority from us.
Democrats have acknowledged they face a tough climb to hold the House, but believe they have momentum after the Supreme Court voted to strike down abortion rights and a string of legislative victories.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, the House Democrats’ campaigns leader for the 2022 cycle, mocked the GOP’s Gingrich-influenced plan, saying “McCarthy is reheating the leftovers.”
“It’s hard to commit to America when a group of your members should be committing,” Maloney said.