MONONGAHELA, Pa. — House Republican leaders arrived here prepared to show they can do two things at once: keep hammering Joe Biden while finally acting on their policy ideas.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, alongside Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), plan to formally unveil an agenda here that focuses on ramping up fossil-fuel production, curbing illegal immigration and combating crime, echoing their most salient campaign-trail points against Democrats. To many Republicans, the platform feels like a turning point for their conference after four years stuck in the House minority.
“This is not just talking points,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), who has served for two decades under three GOP speakers. “It’s actually a real agenda. It’s not a political agenda — it’s an agenda of what we want to do starting on Day One.”
And while they vow to turn their blueprint into House-passed bills next year, not just fodder for the final pre-midterms sprint, many of Republicans’ top issues — from supply chains in China to police hiring to transgender student athletes — were battle-tested to serve as a unifying national message.
In GOP leaders’ briefing to members on Thursday, for instance, they highlighted that crime was a “top issue” for Latino men, and that stressing they want to “reduce reliance” on foreign countries’ oil “scores well across the board.” On the issue of China, Republican leaders highlighted polling that showed 23 percent of independents called it their “top issue.”
For the most part, the GOP’s blueprint does not say precisely which specific bills they plan to use to advance their goals or what level of priority each would receive. But Republicans contend it offers critical direction as they plot the path back to the majority, both on the campaign trail and in developing detailed policy to roll out come January.
And Republicans quickly began utilizing the plan’s topline points on their social media platforms after its soft launch on Thursday.
“I think the American people, once they see that we mean business with this. I think it’s gonna restore trust,” said Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio.).
Along with their glossy bullet-pointed pamphlets, McCarthy and his leadership team also have a disciplined messaging schedule, where lawmakers are urged to hammer a single message from their plan each week, culminating in Election Day on Nov. 8.
The plan received endorsements across the conference and candidate slate, from Freedom Caucus members to battleground Republicans like Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) to McCarthy critic and Army Special Forces veteran Joe Kent, who’s running in Washington state.