Neil

Republicans unveil their “Pledge to America”

Republicans are putting their leading midterm congressional campaign arguments into a new manifesto designed to show they're listening to an angry public and are focused on creating jobs.

Republicans are putting their leading midterm congressional campaign arguments into a new manifesto designed to show they're listening to an angry public and are focused on creating jobs.

 

  

 

GOP lawmakers rolled out their "Pledge to America" - a 21-page document filled with familiar proposals to slash taxes and spending and cut down on government regulation, as well as repeal President Barack Obama's health care law and end his stimulus program.

 

     

 

With polls showing voters disenchanted with President Obama, worried about the economy and mad at elected officials, the agenda also vows to change the way Congress works - requiring every bill to cite its constitutional authority, for example, and to be made public for three days before a vote.

 

In the document, Republicans pledge to:

 

  • Permanently extend the Bush tax cuts for all Americans, including those in the upper-income bracket.
        
  • Repeal "Obamacare" with Republican fixes including medical malpractice reform.
        
  • Return government spending to 2008 levels -- except for national security.

 

  • Ban federal funding of abortion.

 

 

Click here to read the “Pledge to America”

 

 

What do you think about the Republican’s new agenda?  Let me know your thoughts. 

Here are a couple of reports from CBS News and the Associated Press.

I’m including this preview from CBS because it contains some information I thought you might find interesting.

 

 

“Pledge to America”: The New Republican Agenda

(CBS NEWS) House Republicans, led by John Boehner, plan to unveil their "Pledge to America" tomorrow morning at a hardware store in Sterling, Virginia. An advanced copy obtained by CBS News reveals few surprises, but gives voters a basic idea of what Republicans will do if they take over the House next year.

 

It is also a clear pledge to the Tea Party with its focus on Constitutional principles and government spending. "With this document, we pledge to dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people" the members say in the opening. "This is our Pledge to America."

 

Pledge to America: Full Text

 

 

 

The GOP plan is to stop the Bush tax cuts from expiring for all Americans, not just the middle class as many Democrats would like. Republicans would allow small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income. And they would repeal and replace health care with "common-sense solutions focused on lowering costs and protecting American jobs."

 

The Pledge also promises to reform the way Congress works by requiring each bill to have Constitutional citations and by giving members at least three days to read legislation before it comes to the floor for a vote.

On defense, they promise to fully fund the troops, missile defense and to enforce sanctions in Iran.

 

Critical Contests: Interactive Map with CBS News 2010 Election Race Ratings

 

 

 

House Democrats were already busy Wednesday afternoon working up a fact sheet to pan the Republican pledge. In a draft version of the fact sheet, Democrats question the GOP's small business credibility given that Republicans are expected to return from the event to DC tomorrow to vote against a small business-lending fund with tax breaks.

 

"Ironically, the party that's voted against small business tax cuts enacted into law by this Congress is actually holding their press event at a small business just outside Washington--and then racing back presumably to vote against the Small Business Jobs Act--crucial to get small businesses hiring and $300 billion in private sector credit flowing," said Nadeam Elshami, a spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

 

The Democrats' draft also says that the GOP plan will "blow a $700 billion hole in the deficit to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires" and "take away patients' rights" by repealing the health care bill.

 

The Republican plan would take spending back to 2008 pre-TARP and stimulus spending levels and would put in place strict budget caps. But it's unclear how much money would actually be saved given the funding promises in the GOP pledge on extending and adding tax cuts, repealing but replacing health care, and increasing defense spending.

 

GOP's "Pledge" Gets Mixed Reviews from Conservatives
Rep. Mike Pence Defends the "Pledge to America"

Jill Jackson is a CBS News senior political producer. You can read more of her posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow her on Twitter.

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(CBS NEWS) GOP Says "Pledge to America" Should be Enacted Now

America is headed in the wrong direction, House Republicans said today as they officially unveiled their new "Pledge to America" detailing their legislative agenda. They went on to challenge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to adopt the policies in their Pledge immediately in order to put America back on the right track.

"We are very serious about implementing our pledge," House Republican Leader John Boehner said as he raised up the 21-page document. "If we enact this agenda we will eliminate a lot of uncertainty Americans are facing."

Standing in a lumber warehouse in Sterling, Virginia, decked out in button-down shirts without jackets or ties, the Republicans emphasized that their Pledge was the final product of a conversation with the American people. It was unveiled weeks before the midterm elections, some months after the GOP created a website on which Americans submitted suggestions for the document.

"It's not intened to be a party platform," Boehner said. "As we listened to the American people, these are the things they told us... [what] needs to be done now."

Some conservative commentators have complained that the Pledge is short on substance, offering little beyond rhetorical flourishes. Some have also criticized Republicans for calling for limited government without offering specific ways to get there. The Pledge suggests rolling back non-discretionary spending to 2008 levels in order to save $100 billion a year, but it offers few details to save money beyond that.

"We don't underestimate how difficult this is going to be," Boehner said. He added, though, that the document is "our pledge and our commitment to get ourselves on a path to balance the budget."

The document calls for a permanent extension of all the Bush tax cuts set to expire in 2011. Democrats want to extend those cuts for most Americans, but not those in the highest income brackets. Despite the fact most economists say extending the cuts for high-earners would add to the deficit, Boehner said that doing so would allow for economic growth.

"Part of the uncertainty [holding back economic growth] is the fact that no one knows what the tax rates are going to be tomorrow," he said. "Extending the current tax rate, making them permanent, certainly provides more certainty. Permanency creates more certainty for employers."

"Pledge to America": The New Republican Agenda
Read the Text of the "Pledge to America"
GOP Rep. Mike Pence Defends Pledge
"Pledge to America" Gets Mixed Reviews from Conservatives

When asked whether Republicans would be willing to make significant cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare or Social Security, Boehner refused to give a direct answer.

"When it comes to dealing with the entitlement programs, I've made it pretty clear it's time for us as Americans to have an adult conversation with each other," he said. "I don't have all the solutions, but I believe if we work with the American people, the American people will want to work with us... to lay out the plan that will solve this problem once and for all."

But while the Pledge may not have all the solutions, Republicans insisted today it should be enacted as soon as possible to jump start the economy.

"More than 60 percent of Americans believe our country is headed on the wrong path," said Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California. "They're right."

McCarthy, credited with developing the Pledge, said it should be implemented this fall to "put us back on the right track."

"We are not ready to concede the fight for the prosperity of our country," he said.

Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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(AP) GOP 'Pledge' makes closing argument to voters

 

Republicans are putting their leading midterm congressional campaign arguments into a new manifesto designed to show they're listening to an angry public and are focused on creating jobs.

 

     

 

GOP lawmakers later Thursday will roll out their "Pledge to

America" - a 21-page document filled with familiar proposals to slash taxes and spending and cut down on government regulation, as well as repeal President Barack Obama's health care law and end his stimulus program.

 

     

 

With polls showing voters disenchanted with Obama, worried about the economy and mad at elected officials, the agenda also vows to change the way Congress works - requiring every bill to cite its constitutional authority, for example, and to be made public for three days before a vote.

 

     

 

"Putting spending, putting the policy of economic growth in place and cleaning up the way Congress works is not only a stark contrast to this president and this Congress," said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. "It's a contrast to the way we conducted ourselves a decade ago. We spent too much money. We lost our way."

 

 

     

 

The plan steers clear of specifics on important issues, such as how it will "put government on a path to a balanced budget." It omits altogether the question of how to address looming shortfalls in Social Security and Medicare, which account for a huge portion of the nation's soaring deficit, instead including a vague promise:

"We will make the decisions that are necessary to protect our entitlement programs."

 

     

 

Republicans are favored to add substantially to their ranks on Nov. 2, perhaps enough to seize control of the House.

 

     

 

Their new agenda is rife with the kind of grass-roots rhetoric that could appeal both to tea party activists and to independent voters the GOP is courting in its quest for control.

 

  

 

"Regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent," the pledge says. "An arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites makes decisions, issues mandates and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of the many."

 

     

 

Polls show large majorities are fed up with Congress and both parties and show Republicans have a chance to earn the public's trust on key issues.

 

     

 

The latest Associated Press-GfK poll found nearly three-quarters disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job, with 68 percent disapproving of Republicans compared with 60 percent disapproving of Democrats.

 

     

 

Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, the head of Republicans' House campaign committee, said the agenda was drafted to answer the public's skepticism about government and give them a "deliverable."

 

     

 

"A number of people are very cynical about the reliability and the sincerity of either party," Sessions said. "We've put things on a sheet of paper."

 

     

 

Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, the House GOP conference chairman, said ahead of the rollout in suburban Virginia later Thursday that the party document stems from a long period of listening to and talking to voters.

 

     

 

"Congress ought to be acting to make sure there is no tax increase on any American at any level," he said.

 

     

 

Democrats dismissed the GOP plan as recycled ideas that would further exacerbate the nation's problems.

 

     

 

"Republicans want to return to the same failed economic policies that hurt millions of Americans and threatened our economy," said Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

 

     

 

GOP lawmakers planned to go public with their plan at a hardware store in a Virginia suburb of Washington, choosing a location outside the nation's capital that's in keeping with the plan's grass-roots emphasis.

 

     

 

Pence appeared on CBS's "The Early Show," and Ryan was interviewed on ABC's "Good Morning America."


AP Deputy Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.

 

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