McCarthy unveils GOP midterm agenda in Pennsylvania

McCarthy unveils GOP midterm agenda in Pennsylvania

Monogahela, Pennsylvania. (AFP) House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday confronted President Joe Biden and the Democratic majority in Congress with a conservative midterm election agenda brimming with Trump-like promises, as he works not just to win over voters but to hold his party’s troubled coalition together. Fight for judgment.

McCarthy, who is poised to grab the gavel if Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in the fall, never mentioned the former president. Instead, the GOP leader traveled to the battlefield in Pennsylvania in hopes of replicating the strategy former Georgia President Newt Gingrich used to excite voters and obtain a majority in 1994.

“What a ‘commitment,’ it’s a blueprint for a new direction,” McCarthy said at a manufacturing facility in a historic building along the Monongahela River.

The House Republican’s Commitment to America gives a nod to the earlier era but updates it in the era of Donald Trump, with economic, border security and social policies to dig deep well for the former president’s supporters in sometimes overlooked areas like rusty landscapes and rolling farmland outside Pittsburgh.

Thin enough to fit the “pocket card,” McCarthy pulled from his coat, the agenda uses broad lines — a “freedom-based future” — complemented by more detailed proposals about energy, security, and an end to liberal social policies, particularly in education.

President Joe Biden responded quickly in a speech to the National Education Association.

He dismissed McCarthy’s agenda as “a thin series of policy goals with little or no detail.” But he offered his own details in urging support for Democrats in the midterm elections.

“If Republicans win control of Congress, abortion will be banned,” Biden said. He also criticized other GOP lawmakers for proposals to reauthorize voting for Social Security and Medicare, and to oppose gun control laws and efforts to lower prescription drug costs.

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“Within 46 days, Americans will be faced with a choice,” he said. “We have a real alternative here.”

In Pennsylvania, McCarthy said that if Republicans win the House, the first bill next year would be to eliminate funding that Democrats approved to bolster the Internal Revenue Service with more staff.

On Friday, he stood with a broad cross-section of lawmakers — from far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, to less extreme GOP members of Congress — and presented a portrait of unity despite the wide range of opinions that make even a minority of the House of Representatives — and the Republican Party patriotic.

Trump’s Republican Party has shifted from its focus on small government, low taxes, and individual liberties to a more populist, nationalist, and at times far-right party, still led by the still popular former president. Despite deepening state and federal investigations against him.

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

While Republicans and Trump passed the tax cuts into law, the Republican Party’s recent big campaign promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” has fallen apart. Republican speakers, including Gingrich, John Boehner, and Paul Ryan, have been 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.

McCarthy, who was first elected in 2006, is among the survivors of Republican battles in the House of Representatives, a leader who, in a sense, has shown Trump more capacity for communication than legislation.

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One of the main architects of the Republican Tea Party’s 2010 takeover of California Republicans personally appointed the newcomers to Congress—many of whom have never held public office and are now long gone. McCarthy was an early supporter of Trump and remained close to the former president, relying on high-profile Trump endorsements to push GOP candidates into Congress. He abandoned a previous attempt to become a speaker when support from his House colleagues skewed.

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.

Traveling to swing state of Pennsylvania, where Biden has been romantically involved since his early childhood, McCarthy sought to counter the Democratic president’s fiery Labor Day weekend speech, in which he warned of rising Republican extremism after the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

McCarthy and his fellow lawmakers chose Washington County, not Washington, D.C. “because it’s about you, not about us.”

Besides as many as five House seats that Republicans think they can secure in Pennsylvania in November, the state has one of the most watched Senate races, between Democrat Jon Fetterman and Trump-backed Dr. Mehmet Oz. At the top of the ticket is a match between the governor between Republican Doug Mastriano, who was seen outside the Capitol on January 6, and Democrat Josh Shapiro.

“If you’re a hard-core populist and really want to get angry, Kevin is a little frustrated because he’s not going to be mad 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.”

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Gingrich has been working with McCarthy and his team to formulate the style and substance of the proposal.

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.

McCarthy’s former rival Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who joined the event Friday, pledged to launch investigations including the COVID-19 crisis if Republicans win the House.

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 designed past 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.

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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