MONONGAHELA, Pa. — House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday confronted President Joe Biden and the Democratic majority in Congress with a sweeping midterm election agenda filled with Trump-like promises, hoping not only to defeat Democrats but to hold together the uneasy coalition of his own party and pass actual legislation.
McCarthy, who is poised to seize the speaker’s gavel if Republicans win control of the House in the fall, hopes to replicate the strategy that former Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia used to spark voter enthusiasm and gain a majority in 1994. Victories in battleground Pennsylvania, where McCarthy announced the agenda, could be a crucial step in November.
The House GOP’s “Commitment to America” gives a nod to the earlier era but updates it in the age of Donald Trump, with economic, border security and social policies to rouse the former president’s deep well of supporters in sometimes-overlooked regions like this rusty landscape and rolling farmland outside Pittsburgh.
“What the ‘Commitment’ is, it’s a plan for a new direction,” McCarthy said at a manufacturing facility in a historic building near downtown.
On Friday, he stood with a wide cross-section of lawmakers — from far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., to less extreme GOP members of Congress — to roll out the party’s agenda, offering a portrait of unity despite the wide range of views that make up the House minority — and the Republican Party nationally. The GOP has shifted from its focus on small government, low taxes and individual freedoms to a more populist, nationalist and, at times, far-right party, essentially still led by Trump, who remains popular despite the deepening state and federal investigations against him.