GOP Pledge to America

GOP makes a 'Pledge' to voters

By Stephen Dinan-The Washington Times

House Republicans on Thursday promised to cancel unspent stimulus funds, stop suspected terrorists from being tried in civilian courts, cut lawmakers’ own budgets and impose a hiring freeze on civilian federal workers if Americans vote for the GOP in November.

Tackling what they see as the excesses of President Obama‘s tenure, House GOP lawmakers in their new “Pledge to America” promised to go the other direction on just about every move he’s made, including repealing the new health care law, cutting spending back to levels before he took office and keeping taxes at their Bush-era level.

“You cried ‘stop’ but the Democratic majority in Washington has refused to listen. We are here today to tell you we have been listening, and we heard you. We heard you loud and clear,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy, California Republican and the man House Republicans tapped months ago to write the plan.

The document quickly drew support from Senate Republican leaders and the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, but it could complicate the election picture for all sides. It sets up the chance for Republicans to earn a mandate from voters in November on taxes and spending, but it also gives Democrats some specific targets to shoot at – and they wasted no time in doing so.

The White House said extending all the Bush tax cuts would cost $700 billion over 10 years, while cutting spending to 2008 levels would mean kicking 200,000 children off the Head Start education program, cutting thousands of FBI agents and federal corrections officers and detaining thousands fewer illegal immigrants.

And congressional Democrats said Republicans have little credibility on these issues after failing to cut spending under President George W. Bush.

“Pledges are easy to make, but the American voter needs to look at performance. Who created jobs? Who brought the deficit down? Who had four years of balanced budgets? Who left a $5.6 trillion surplus for the last administration that was then squandered by two wars, two tax cuts and a drug prescription bill?” said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat. “Talk is cheap. Performance is what voters ought to assess.”

The pledge hearkened back to the 1994 “Contract With America,” a list of steps House Republicans promised to take that year if voters pushed them to power. Historians debate the role of the contract, but the outcome of the election was the GOP winning both chambers of Congress.

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