House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has learned something in the decade or so he’s been in leadership: presentation. He and fellow Republicans officially released their “Commitment to America” Friday, after unofficially releasing it Wednesday when it was posted to their website prematurely. In the intervening two days, they didn’t do a lot to add what you might call content, but it sure has some pretty pictures.
McCarthy rolled out a spiffy website (which promptly crashed) with a nice picture of a bunch white blue-collar workers on what must be an oil rig, and with words and numbers like 550%, which is what McCarthy says inflation increased by under the Biden administration: 550%. He does not say over what time period.
The site has a link to download the “Commitment.” Which takes you to one-page document that is pretty much the totality of the plan. It is titled “CTA One Pager,” as if there is some other document out there that is more than one page. There is not. But there are four overarching goals: creating “an economy that’s strong,” “a nation that’s safe,” “a future that’s built on freedom,” and “a government that’s accountable.” Read: tax cuts for the rich, immigrant-bashing, privatizing Social Security and Medicare, and endless hours of “oversight” hearings about Hunter Biden and (probably) Hillary’s emails.
The document is primarily a list of grievances against Democrats, with the usual attacks McCarthy laid out in his introductory video, staged from the most attractive, well-stocked, unpopulated grocery store you have ever seen. Which was a bit of unintended humor since one of the images they throw up when talking about inflation is empty floor shelves.
“Violent crime is at record highs in our streets and neighborhoods. The border has become a national security crisis, with fentanyl killing our fellow citizens. Soaring inflation has shrunk paychecks and sent us into a recession. And our kids have fallen further behind thanks to school closures and lockdowns,” McCarthy says in the clip.
Mostly the document is a lot of platitudes: platitudes like “support our troops,” “exercise peace through strength with our allies to counter increasing global threats,” “recover lost learning from school closures,” and “uphold free speech.” And, of course, “rigorous oversight.” That’s one promise you know they would keep if they got the majority because they’ve been talking about it for months and months. Retaliation is their favorite.
In the town-hall style rollout of the plan in Pittsburgh Friday morning, McCarthy gave a few more specific pledges. He said the very first bill the House would introduce in the majority is cutting the IRS budget. In other words, helping rich people avoid paying taxes by keeping the IRS from going after them.
For once, they don’t talk about repealing Obamacare in their health policy word salad. It does criticize what they call the Democrats’ “drug takeover scheme.” Separately, Republicans have vowed to repeal the cost savings the Inflation Reduction Act secured for seniors: the $2000 annual cap on out-of-pocket prescription costs and a cap on how much drug makers can hike prices, allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, and making insulin affordable for seniors and disabled people on Medicare.
But it looks pretty. A shiny, slick gloss over the real GOP agenda of a national abortion ban, cutting Social Security and Medicare, tax cuts for the rich, and avenging the Democrats’ efforts to restore democracy. Oh, and whatever this is.