‘Commit to America’ GOP leaders roll out midterm election agenda, but challenges remain

Monongahela, Pennsylvania (Associated Press) – Republican leader Kevin McCarthy heads to Pennsylvania on Friday to confront President Joe Biden and the ruling party head-on, unveiling the midterm election agenda with sweeping Trump-like promises despite the occasional House GOP record . It rules in Congress.

McCarthy, who is poised to seize the gavel if Republicans win control of the House of Representatives in the fall, hopes to replicate the strategy used by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to galvanize voters and seize control of the House in 1994.

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The House Commitment to America gives a nod to that earlier era but updates it to Trump, with economic, border security and social policies to awaken the former president’s deep supporters in often forgotten areas like this rusty spectacle outside of Pittsburgh.
“We have a plan for a new direction for America,” McCarthy told The Associated Press.

On Friday, the House Republican leader will stand with other lawmakers to put forward the GOP agenda, presenting a picture of party unity despite the turbulent coalition that makes up the minority in the House — and the Republican Party itself. The Republican Party has shifted from its focus on small government, low taxes, and individual liberties to a more populist, patriotic and, at times, far-right party, still primarily led by Donald Trump, who remains popular despite deepening state and federalism. investigations against him.

Motivated by Trump’s “Make America Great Again” voters, Republicans need to secure a few seats to regain control of the deeply divided House of Representatives, replacing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But even so, McCarthy’s ability to lead the House is far from guaranteed.

As Republicans and Trump passed tax cuts into law, the Republican Party’s last major campaign, by repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has collapsed. A long line of Republican speakers, including Gingrich, John Boehner and Paul Ryan, were forced out of office or opted for early retirement, often halted by partisan infighting.

“House Republicans are really good at driving people out of town,” said Matt Schlapp, president of the Conservative Political Action Coalition, CPAC.

McCarthy, who was first elected in 2006, is among the remaining political survivors of Republican battles in the House, a new leader’s style that has demonstrated more capacity for communication than legislation.

One of the main architects of the Republican “Tea Party” takeover of power in 2010, California Republicans personally appointed newcomers to Congress—many of whom had never held public office and had been long gone. McCarthy was an early supporter of Trump, and has remained close to the former president, counting on his high profile endorsement to push GOP candidates into Congress. He abandoned a previous attempt to become a speaker when support from his colleagues skewed.

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“Commitment to America” ​​reflects McCarthy’s strengths, but also his weaknesses. He has spent more than a year assembling the often warring factions of the House Republican Party — from the far right MAGA to what remains of the center ranks — to produce a mostly agreed-upon agenda.
But the one-page “obligation” preamble is concise, and is essentially a pocket card, though it would be expected to be filled in with the kind of detail needed to enact laws.

“They’re talking about a lot of problems,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland. “They don’t have many solutions.”
While traveling to the battlefield in Pennsylvania, a state with which Biden has had romantic ties since his early childhood, McCarthy plans to counter the president’s fiery Labor Day weekend speech, in which he warned of the rise of Republican extremism after the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, With a more optimistic message.

The event is described as more of a conversation with the GOP leader and lawmakers rather than bringing the title into a uniquely contested case.

Besides as many as five House seats that Republicans think they can get in Pennsylvania in November, the state has one of the most watched Senate races, between Democrat Jon Fetterman and Trump-backed Mehmet Oz, that will help determine control of Congress. . Topping the list is the governor’s seismic confrontation between Republican Doug Mastriano, seen outside the Capitol on January 6, and Democrat Josh Shapiro.

“If you’re a hardcore populist and you really want to get angry, Kevin is a little frustrated because he’s not going to be angry enough at you,” Gingrich said. “On the other hand, if what you want is to implement and legislate your values, then he’s really a good leader and regulator.”

Gingrich has been working with McCarthy and his team to formulate the style and substance of the proposal. The former spokesman, who was questioned by the Jan. 6 commission to investigate the Capitol attack for an interview, was present Thursday in Washington, joining McCarthy as he unveiled the plans privately to House Republicans, who disagreed over the approach.

Mostly, the GOP’s pocket card takes broad blows – energy independence, security, and an end to liberal social policies, particularly in school education.
Conservative Republicans privately complain that McCarthy is not leaning strongly enough on their priorities, as he tries to appeal to a broader segment of the electorate and keep the party together.

Many are eager to launch investigations into the Biden administration and the president’s family, and some are calling for impeachment. Legislatively, some House Republicans want to honor the party’s commitment to ban abortion, supporting Senator Lindsey Graham’s bill banning the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

In a sign of the pressures awaiting McCarthy, dozens of House GOP lawmakers have signed off on plans by Trump-allied Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green to block several sex-change procedures for minors, celebrating the Georgian as brave for taking such a hard-line approach. She and others are invited to join Friday’s event, as McCarthy seeks their support.

Republican Representative Chip Roy of Texas, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, has called for withholding federal funds as a lever for policy priorities, a tactic that has engineered previous government shutdowns.

“Lay down like, you know, principles about, ‘Okay, we’re going to secure the boundaries. “I mean, OK, but what are we going to do about it?” Roy said. “At the end of the day, I want specific, actionable elements that will demonstrate that we are going to fight for the American people.”

It is noteworthy that McCarthy alone proposed a plan if the Republicans win control of the House of Representatives. In the Senate, Republican leader Mitch McConnell refused to put forward an agenda, preferring simply to run against Biden and the Democrats in the midterm elections.

“Kevin did a very good job when he was in a position to become the speaker. Then the question is, what do you do with this? That helps as a roadmap,” Schlapp said.

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