Republicans vying for an electoral resurgence in November today unveiled their plans to cut the size and scope of government and challenged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to immediately enact the "Pledge to America" reforms to help shore up the national economy and put America back on the right track.
Boosted by the public's disappointment with President Barack Obama's management of high unemployment and growing budget deficits, GOP leaders gathered at Tart Lumber, a small business in Sterling, Va., to unveil their plans for the country's immediate future. With the Republican Party poised to make significant gains in the November midterm elections, House Minority Leader John Boehner said, "Republicans have heard the American people" and the GOP is "very serious about implementing our pledge."
The plan also gives voters a peak at what a GOP-majority agenda on Capitol Hill might look like for the 112th Congress. While short on specifics, the plan calls for scaling back federal spending and ending government control of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In addition, the GOP plans to permanently extend all the George W. Bush-era tax cuts and cancel unspent stimulus expenditures--moves that will likely not garner support from the Obama White House.
Also at the top of the GOP's agenda is a repeal of the Obama health care law, with plans to replace it with Republican proposals to reign in health care costs, including tort reform. Republicans also plan to block the Obama administration's plans to move suspected terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay to civilian prisons within the U.S.
The Republicans, who lost control of Congress in 2006, seem to be embracing the criticisms of conservative tea party-types who have protested the size and cost of government of both the Obama and Bush administrations. "Republicans didn't just lose our majority in 2006, we lost our way," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said Thursday. "We walked away from the principles of fiscal responsibility and reform that minted our national governing majority and the American people walked away from us," he said.
While Pence acknowledged that the pledge lacks many specific details as to what areas of government spending the GOP would like to cut, he called the Party's "Pledge" a "good start."
The White House has yet to officially comment on the GOP's "Pledge," but one senior Obama aide earlier this week warned against pulling back on federal spending, claiming that it could further harm the economy and rattle investors. "If you try to tighten the belt right now, I think you would spook markets in a substantial way," Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told Reuters Wednesday.
With the administration's approval ratings dipping down into uncharted territory for the Obama administration thus far, the GOP plans to capitalize on the president's unpopular spending habits and seemingly aloof public persona. In language clearly targeting the White House, the "Pledge" refers to an "arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites [who] makes decisions, issues mandates and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of the many."
"The governed do not consent," the document concludes.
Click here for the full text of the GOP's "Pledge to America"
Click here for more on the Democrats' response