McCarthy reveals Casa GOP’s big ideas, but challenges ahead

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is heading to Pennsylvania on Friday to directly confront President Joe Biden and the ruling party, unveiling a midterm election agenda with broad promises similar to Trump’s despite the sometimes uneven track record. Republican Party to deliver and govern in Congress.

McCarthy, who is poised to seize the president’s gavel if Republicans win control of the House in the fall, hopes to replicate the strategy former President Newt Gingrich used to rouse voter enthusiasm and sweep away control of the House in 1994.

The House GOP’s “Commitment to America” nods to that earlier era, but updates it for Trump, with economic, border security and social policies to rouse the deep well of former president’s supporters in often overlooked regions. like this rusty landscape 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 launch the GOP agenda, offering a portrait of party unity despite the uncomfortable coalition that makes up the House minority — and the GOP itself. The GOP has shifted from its focus on small governments, low taxes and individual liberties to a more populist, nationalist and sometimes far-right party, essentially still led by Donald Trump, which remains popular despite deepening state investigations and federal against him.

Driven by voters of Trump’s “Make America Great Again”, Republicans need to win just a few seats to regain control of the House, and replace President Nancy Pelosi. But even so, McCarthy’s ability to lead the House is far from guaranteed.

While both Republicans and Trump have passed tax cuts into law, the GOP’s last major campaign promise repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has failed. A long line of Republican speakers, including Gingrich, John Boehner and Paul Ryan, were forced out of office or opted for early retirement, often stifled by infighting between parties.

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

McCarthy, first elected to office in 2006, is among the remaining political survivors of those Republican battles in the House, and he is a new style of leader who has shown more ability to communicate than to legislate.

One of the main architects of the Republican tea party in 2010, the California Republican personally recruited newcomers to Congress – many who had never served in public office and are now gone. McCarthy was one of Trump’s early endorsers and has remained close to the former president, relying on his high-profile endorsements to propel GOP candidates for Congress. He abandoned an earlier attempt to become a speaker when support from his peers waned.

The “Commitment to America” reflects the strength of McCarthy’s abilities, but also his weaknesses. He has spent more than a year bringing together the often-warring factions of the House Republican Party – from the far-right MAGA to what remains of the more centrist ranks – to produce a largely agreed-upon agenda.

But the preamble to the one-page “commitment” is succinct, essentially a pocket card, though one hopes it will be filled with the kind of detail needed to make laws.

“They talk about a lot of issues,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. “They don’t have many solutions.”

As he travels to the battlefield of Pennsylvania, a state where Biden has maintained emotional ties since childhood, McCarthy aims to counter the president’s Labor Day weekend speech, in which he warned of the rise of Republican extremism in the wake of the terrorist attack. January 6, 2021 to the Capitol. with a more optimistic message.

The event is billed as more of a conversation with the GOP leader and lawmakers, rather than a speech in an exclusively contested state.

In addition to five House seats Republicans believe they can win in Pennsylvania in November, the state has one of the most-watched Senate races between Democrat John Fetterman and Trump-backed Mehmet Oz, which will help determine control of Congress. . At the top of the ticket is the seismic governor’s showdown between GOP’s Doug Mastriano, who was seen outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, and Democrat Josh Shapiro.

“If you’re a hardline, populist, and you really want anger, Kevin is a little frustrating because he’s not going to be angry enough with you,” Gingrich said. “On the other hand, if what you want is to have your values ​​implemented and passed in legislation, he is a very good leader and organizer.”

Gingrich has worked with McCarthy and his team to create the style and substance of the proposal. The former president, who was invited by the Jan. 6 committee investigating the Capitol Hill attack for an interview, was present in Washington on Thursday, joining McCarthy as he privately unveiled the plans to House Republicans. , who were confused about the approach.

Mainly, the GOP pocket card hits big blows – energy independence, security and an end to liberal social policies, particularly in schooling.

Conservative Republicans privately complain that McCarthy is not leaning heavily on his priorities as he tries to attract a wider swath of voters and hold the party together.

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

In a sign of future pressures on McCarthy, dozens of House Republican lawmakers signed off on Trump-aligned Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s plans to stop many sex reassignment procedures for minors, celebrating the Georgian as brave for taking such a tough approach. .

She and others were invited to attend Friday’s event as McCarthy seeks their support.

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

“Putting principles like, you know, ‘Well, let’s protect the border.’ I mean, fine, but what are we going to do about it? said Ruy. “At the end of the day, I want specific actionable items that show that we are going to fight for the American people.”

It is notable that McCarthy alone has proposed a plan if the Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives. In the Senate, Republican leader Mitch McConnell declined to present an agenda, preferring to simply run against Biden and the Democrats in the midterm elections.

“Kevin did a very good job of being in a position to become the speaker. And so the question is, what do you do with it? said Schlapp. “It helps as a script.”

__ Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report.

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at

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