House GOP unveils legislative agenda ahead of midterms: NPR

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy appears with House Republican leadership at a news conference in June at the U.S. Capitol.

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

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Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy appears with House Republican leadership at a news conference in June at the U.S. Capitol.

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy released the legislative road map Republicans will follow if they win the majority in this year’s midterm elections.

The “Commitment to America” ​​includes four broad pillars focused on the economy, safety, personal liberty, and government accountability. Big on ideas (“expanding U.S. manufacturing”) but short on policy specifics, the agenda is in keeping with a tradition established in 1994 by Rep. Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America,” where the minority party published its priorities on the agenda before election day.

Gingrich met privately with House Republicans today on Capitol Hill as lawmakers were briefed on the agenda ahead of its unveiling.

House Republicans will travel to suburban Pittsburgh on Friday to hold an event to promote the agenda as the 2022 campaign ends in about seven weeks. Although the GOP’s early 2022 electoral strength has tightened in polls in recent months, the party is still favored to win at least a slim majority in November, and McCarthy is poised to become chairman if the party succeeds.

The agenda is the product of months of deliberation by rank-and-file Republicans

Much of the agenda relies on traditional conservative orthodoxy — support for tax cuts and government spending cuts — but it also weighs on some divisive cultural issues. For example, Republicans are pledging to support legislation to ensure that “only women can compete in women’s sports” — which would seek to ban transwomen from playing on women’s sports teams. Republicans have also broadly pledged to advance federal legislation to restrict access to abortion, pledging to “protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers.” The agenda also signaled opposition to any legislation to limit gun rights, pledging to “protect” the Second Amendment.

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House Republicans’ legislative ambitions will be weakened by divided government; regardless of what happens with control of the Senate, President Biden is unlikely to support much, if any, GOP party agenda. But the majority would give Republicans powers to oversee and investigate the administration, and they plan to use it.

Republicans will “exercise strong oversight” and “hold the White House accountable for its incompetence at home and abroad,” planning to hold hearings on: the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Justice Department’s investigation into former President Donald Trump and the alleged illegal possession of classified documents at his Florida mansion.

Pelosi insists Democrats will retain the majority

Henry Connolly, spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, ridiculed Commitment to America as “doubling down on MAGA’s extreme agenda.” Pelosi is optimistic that Democrats will buck historical trends and hold onto their majority. Specifically, Democrats believe that the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down federal access to abortion will tip competitive races in their favor. Two Democratic victories in special House elections in New York and Alaska have given the party cause for optimism that a “red wave” is not on the horizon.

“We fully intend to hold the House,” she told reporters last week, “And while there are some of you who belittle my political instincts and the rest, I’ve brought us here twice to a majority and I have no intention of [give it up].”

Republican leaders have also made it clear they plan to run the House differently than Democrats, notably by pledging to end the practice of remote proxy voting, which was approved as an emergency measure in response to the pandemic.

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“We’ve had a lot of votes, big votes, where over 100 members of Congress weren’t even here to vote in person, that’s going to change with a Republican majority in the House,” Republican Steve Scalise told reporters. a week. Scalise intends to run for majority leader, a position that oversees scheduling and operations, if Republicans win control.

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