GOP Eyes New 'Contract With America'
Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010
Reposted from CongressDaily PM
House Republicans are planning to draft a new "Contract with America," listing specific legislative commitments and priorities they would pursue next year if they win back control of the House.
Minority Leader Boehner told the Republican Conference this morning that the idea would be patterned after the original 1994 Contract with America that is widely credited with helping the GOP win majority status for the first time in 40 years.
According to officials who heard this morning's presentation, Boehner conceded to rank-and-file Republicans during the closed-door meeting that there is a need to define "what we're for," in addition to opposing President Obama's agenda.
Boehner pointed to several Republican alternatives to healthcare reform legislation being devised by congressional Democrats as a good example of what could go into such a document. According to an aide, Boehner said: "The bottom line is, I believe we can beat this bill. The American people are with us."
Whether this document ends up actually being called a "contract" or an agenda, or something else, Boehner is described as saying that its development and promotion should involve House Republicans who are seeking re-election and candidates recruited to run for other House seats.
Boehner announced during the meeting that he has asked Chief Deputy Minority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to head the effort to develop document in conjunction with the National Republican Congressional Committee.
No time frame has been set for completing the document and having members sign it.
The 1994 Contract with America was introduced in September 1994 -- more than a month before that year's mid-term election. It was signed by all but two Republican incumbents and the party's other House candidates.
That document specifically outlined legislation and proposals to be introduced within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress if Republicans took control, such as tax cuts and a balanced budget.
House Democrats will devote the opening hours of the majority party's retreat this afternoon to focusing on the 2010 elections. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland will brief members on the political landscape as the three-day conference gets started.
"Turning back the clock is not something that is going to be fondly embraced by the American people," he said of the GOP plan.
by Billy House