What McCarthy plans to do if he becomes speaker of the House

Elections 2022

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) addresses reporters during his weekly on-camera press conference on Friday, July 29, 2022. (Greg Nash/The Hill)

(NewsNation) — With Republicans in position to retake control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time since 2018, GOP leaders such as Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., continue to tout the party’s “Commitment to America” agenda.

As of Thursday, the GOP has a 78% chance of retaking the House, according to Decision Desk HQ’s forecast model.

If that happens, McCarthy, the current minority leader, will likely become the next speaker of the House — a title currently held by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Before he can do that, McCarthy will have to retain his seat by defeating Democratic challenger Marisa Wood in the upcoming midterms — an outcome that’s all but guaranteed, according to Decision Desk HQ.

Here’s what a McCarthy-led House might look like.

No ‘blank check’ for Ukraine

Since Vladimir Putin’s army invaded Ukraine in February, Congress has approved tens of billions in emergency security and humanitarian assistance for the country. The Biden administration has also shipped billions worth of weapons and equipment.

Any future support may be reduced in a GOP-controlled House. Last week, McCarthy warned that Republicans won’t write a “blank check” for Ukraine.

“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” McCarthy told Punchbowl News.

The initial funding earlier this year received bipartisan support, but some lawmakers have grown increasingly skeptical of the ongoing assistance as domestic economic concerns rise to the fore.

move toward ‘energy independence’

In the House GOP’s “Commitment to America” agenda released last month, Republicans outlined a number of broad policy aims that emphasize safety, freedom and government accountability.

The plan criticized President Joe Biden’s administration for “halting energy projects” and “shutting down pipeline construction.” Those moves have led to higher gas and electricity prices, Republicans argue.

Instead, McCarthy’s agenda would “maximize production of reliable, American-made energy” and “cut the permitting process in half to reduce the reliance on foreign countries.”

It’s unclear what specific steps McCarthy would take to ensure that happens.

Oil production has yet to return to its pre-pandemic level of roughly 13 million barrels a day, although it’s less clear who is directly responsible. The revised government forecast is that production will average 12.4 million barrels next year.

Biden continues to point the finger at Russian President Vladimir Putin and oil companies, who he says are ripping off everyday people.

hiring more police

McCarthy’s agenda says it will support “200,000 more police officers through recruiting and retention bonuses” and “crack down” on prosecutors who are perceived to be soft on crime.

Major police departments across the country have struggled to hire new officers and some say they are facing a full-blown staffing crisis. The trend — which has been described as a mass exodus from the profession — has left those who remain tired and overworked.

The House GOP’s stated goal could provide a rare opportunity for bipartisan cooperation. In November, Biden signed a trio of bills, which were supported by lawmakers in both parties, aimed at providing additional resources for law enforcement officers across the country.

The GOP agenda explicitly points out the rise in homicides in Democrat-led cities like Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon. The party blames “defund the police” and “soft-on-crime” policies for that increase.

the southern border

After previously supporting former President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the southern border, McCarthy’s agenda makes no explicit mention of a wall.

Rather, House Republicans vow to “fully fund effective border enforcement strategies, infrastructure and advanced technology” to stop the flow of illegal migrants.

Border encounters have surged to record highs this fiscal year, surpassing 2 million for the first time ever.

Republicans say they will end “catch-and-release loopholes” and “eliminate welfare incentives” for migrants. Their plan also makes specific mention of illicit fentanyl, which has poured over the border in record quantities this year.

The plan does not mention the current backlog of green card applications, which has left thousands of people waiting years to gain legal entry into the country.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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