MONONGAHELA, Pa. (NewsNation) — Republicans in the House of Representatives rolled out an agenda aimed at tackling a range of priorities from inflation and crime to election accountability, which they hope will give them the upper hand against Democrats in the midterm elections.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who is poised to take the speaker’s gavel if Republicans win control of the House in the fall, hopes to replicate the strategy former Speaker Newt Gingrich used to spark voter enthusiasm and sweep House control in a 1994 landslide.
The House GOP’s agenda, called the “Commitment to America,” gives a nod to that earlier era but updates it for Donald Trump, with economic, border security and social policies to rouse the former president’s deep well of supporters in often-forgotten regions like this rusty landscape outside Pittsburgh.
On Friday, McCarthy stood with other lawmakers to roll out the GOP agenda, offering a portrait of party unity despite the uneasy coalition that makes up the House minority — and the Republican Party itself. The GOP has shifted from its focus on small government, low taxes and individual freedoms to a more populist, nationalist and, at times, far-right party, essentially still led by Donald Trump, who remains popular despite the deepening state and federal investigations against him.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to the GOP’s rollout, calling it an “extreme MAGA agenda.”
“Today’s rollout is the latest evidence of House Republicans’ wholehearted Commitment to MAGA: going all-in on an extremist agenda designed to greatly diminish Americans’ health, freedom and security,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“This alarming new extreme MAGA platform threatens to criminalize women’s health care, slash seniors’ Medicare and raise prescription drug prices, and attack our free and fair elections. These appalling proposals have long been advanced by right-wing politicians and are widely supported by the dark money special interests who call the shots in the GOP. But this extreme MAGA agenda is way out of step with Americans’ priorities, who align with Democrats’ vision of putting People Over Politics: with lower costs, better-paying jobs and safer communities.”
Elements of the plan, which lawmakers spent months crafting, began to appear online on Thursday.
On the issue of crime, the agenda aims to put 200,000 more police on the streets by providing federal funding for recruitment and retention bonuses.
The agenda also pledged a host of investigations on issues including fentanyl addiction, COVID-19’s origins, Big Tech “censorship,” the U.S. Afghanistan withdrawal, “politicization” of the Justice Department and the border crisis.
The “Commitment to America” reflects the strength of McCarthy’s abilities, but also his weaknesses. He spent more than a year pulling together the House GOP’s often warring factions — from the far-right MAGA to what’s left of the more centrist ranks — to produce a mostly agreed-upon agenda.
But the plan offered few specifics and little detail about how Republicans would expect to achieve their goals while the White House – and possibly the Senate – remain in Democratic hands.
Control of the Senate is up for grabs in November. But Republicans are favored by nonpartisan election analysts to erase the Democrats’ 221-212 House majority. Doing so would give them the power to block Biden’s legislative agenda and to launch potentially politically damaging investigations into his administration.
Democrats’ fortunes have improved in recent weeks. A national Reuters/Ipsos poll concluded on Sept. 12 found that 37% of Americans would prefer to vote for a Democratic congressional candidate, with 34% preferring Republicans and 15% still undecided.
Along with many as five House seats Republicans believe they can pick up in Pennsylvania in November, the state has one of the most watched Senate races, between Democrat John Fetterman and Trump-backed Mehmet Oz. Top of the ticket is the seismic governor’s matchup between the GOP’s Doug Mastriano, who was seen outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, and Democrat Josh Shapiro.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the chamber’s top Democrat, poured scorn on the emerging agenda on Thursday, warning that Republicans wanted only to ban abortion nationwide, cut Medicare and Social Security and raise taxes on working Americans.
Reuters contributed to this report.