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 very bill that House Republicans will try to pass next year seeks to repeal the $80 billion in new IRS funding that was included in the Tax Reduction Act. Biden inflation. 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.
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.
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.
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.