House Republicans will spend the next three days trying to fill in some of the loopholes in a legislative bill to guide them through the midterm elections and into next year if they take control of the chamber.
Lawmakers will hear presentations from the heads of seven task forces on issues and legislation likely to be on their agenda at the annual issues conference at a Florida resort town outside of Jacksonville.
They call their plan ‘Pledge to America’ – an apparent nod to the ‘contract with America’ Republicans campaigned on when they took control of the House in 1994 after being out of office. power for 40 years. The main architect of that victory, former President Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), is set to address lawmakers tonight at the conference.
The finalized plan should be ready around August, giving Republicans a unified political message to deliver to their constituents and with them on the campaign trail.
representing Michael McCaul (R-Texas), which chairs the China Accountability Task Force, said the main purpose of the retreat was to “bring the whole conference together on these issues so that we don’t have these divisions that you see with the Democrats right now.” McCaul said minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), “try to be very inclusive, get everyone’s input.”
Republicans are well positioned to take control of the House in November, given historical trends that favor the party outside the White House, the president said Joe Bidenthe Democrats’ low approval rating and the Democrats’ narrow five-seat margin.
For McCarthy, the retreat is a way to ensure members buy into the plan in a bid to avoid rifts within his conference due to stalled legislation. Deep differences remain within the party over the role of former President Donald Trump, particularly in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 uprising on Capitol Hill, but task force leaders say they are finding areas of consensus around politics.
representing John Katko (RN.Y.) who leads the American Security Task Force on Policing, Borders and Cybersecurity, said the resulting plan would be “extremely important.”
“That’s something the Democrats didn’t do early in their term and they wasted a huge opportunity,” said the New York Republican, who is not seeking re-election.
McCarthy and lawmakers pieced together the plan for nearly a year. The seven task forces were announced last June, and McCarthy rolled out a less detailed “Pledge to America” last September.
The working groups are: jobs and the economy; Big Tech Censorship and data; Future of American Freedoms; energy, climate and conservation; American security; China’s healthy future and responsibility.
McCaul, who called Gingrich a friend he talks to from time to time, said the America contract was “very effective because you broadcast in advance what you’re going to do with the majority rather than simply having the majority for power. Sake.”
“We can say Biden is this and that, and that will be part of the campaign rhetoric,” McCaul said. “But this is an opportunity to do something positive, a positive message, without criticizing or providing any corner issues.”
While Gingrich was successful in bringing his party back to power, he was also a polarizing figure who was forced to resign as president in 1998 after Republicans suffered losses in that year’s midterm elections- the.
Katko said the resulting plan would not only be a guide to a GOP-controlled House, but also “succinct and easily digestible for the American people.”
The policies aim to be a mix of aspiration and practice, keeping in mind that anything the House passes would have to get Biden’s signature before it becomes law, the rep said. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), who chairs the Healthy Future Task Force with Rep. Vern Buchanan(R-Fla.).
“We go in knowing that in 23, 24, President Biden will be the president,” Guthrie said. “So the things that you want to accomplish, you have to do knowing that’s also the situation.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Emily Wilkins in washington at [email protected]
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bennett Roth at [email protected]