McCarthy Rolls Out ‘Commitment to America’ Ahead of Midterm Sprint | Politics

GOP lawmakers christened their midterm pitch in Pennsylvania on Friday, offering a united message for the party heading into the fall elections – and a glimpse of priorities that could be rolled out in a Republican-controlled House come next year.

The GOP’s so-called “Commitment to America,” spearheaded by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, is a broad four-pronged pitch to voters, hinging on promises to create an “economy that’s strong,” “a nation that’s safe,” “a future that’s built on freedom” and “a government that’s accountable.”

But the pitch is largely absent of specific policy, leaning heavily on critiques of the nation’s current state under President Joe Biden and Democratic control of both chambers of Congress – from inflation to immigration to crime.

“Who has a plan to change that course? We do,” McCarthy said on Friday, flanked by a cross-section of House Republicans. “Democrats have no plan for the problem they created.”

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The agenda, which leans into traditional conservative platforms while also taking on controversial social issues like abortion and dictating who may compete in women’s sports, evokes the 1994 “Contract with America,” a pitch released weeks ahead of midterm elections that flipped a Democratic-controlled House and Senate to Republicans under former President Bill Clinton. But the midterm outlook in 2022 is more nuanced – at least for now.

The “red wave” that many expected heading into the midterms has been thrown into question in recent months, following in part the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade that rolled back abortion rights in place for nearly 50 years. With the decision, Democrats’ midterm fortunes appeared to change, however slightly, making the fall contest far more competitive.

“We want an economy that is strong,” McCarthy said on Friday. “We have a plan – for a nation that’s safe. That means your community will be protected, your law enforcement will be respected, your criminals will be prosecuted. We believe in a future that’s built on freedom – that your children come first.”

Notably absent from the lawmakers’ remarks on Friday was any mention of abortion, after Democrats railed against a pledge to “protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers” when the agenda’s language was released.

Perhaps cementing abortion’s messaging trouble for Republicans was a proposal last week from Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina for a national ban on abortion beyond 15 weeks of pregnancy, which quickly became fodder for Democrats, who blasted Republicans’ “extremist” agenda to roll back access to the procedure at the national level, going beyond what many Republicans celebrated as a state’s issue with the Supreme Court’s decision this summer.

Instead, GOP lawmakers stuck to issues on Friday that have been their bread and butter for months, like inflation, crime and parental choice in schools.

Among the platform’s pillars is “a future that’s built on freedom,” which McCarthy pointed to as relying heavily on parents’ ability to have a say in their child’s education. The lawmakers touted a “parent’s bill of rights” on their platform that they say would “provide transparency” for parents.

The proposal comes in response to a divisive culture war that appeared to blossom during the coronavirus pandemic, making school board meetings a new frontier for ideological battles over COVID-19, critical race theory and LGBTQ rights in schools.

“Parents are patriotic Americans,” Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York said on Friday. “We urge parents to go to school board meetings because you are the primary advocate on behalf of your kids.”

Stefanik also noted that among the first actions Republican lawmakers would take should they regain the majority in the House in November would be to hire 200,000 police officers across the country, while going after “radical left prosecutors” whom she says are “refusing to abide by the rule of law and are prioritizing the criminals rather than the law-abiding citizens.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky praised House GOP leaders, saying in a tweet on Thursday that the platform “will bring the people’s priorities back into the people’s House.”

“Imagine – a House that actually fights for American families instead of making their lives harder,” McConnell said.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California criticized the rollout, calling it the “latest evidence of House Republicans’ whole-hearted Commitment to MAGA,” while House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland in a dueling speech on Friday criticized the GOP agenda for its vagueness.

“Long on slogans and short on details,” Hoyer said in Pittsburgh on Friday. “That’s because the true details of the Republicans’ agenda are too frightening for most American voters.”

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