GOP rolls out pre-election agenda

Weeks away from an election that offers the GOP the real prospects of regaining the majority in Congress, House Republicans have written an agenda calling for tax cuts, a reduction in government spending and a repeal of the new health care law, among other initiatives they say would help jump-start the economy.

Republicans have named their agenda “A Pledge To America,” a title reminiscent of the “Contract With America” drafted by the GOP before it won control of Congress in 1994.

GOP leaders will unveil their plan at a hardware store in Northern Virginia on Thursday. The Washington Examiner obtained a 21-page draft of the proposal, which is clearly aimed at appealing to a public that has grown increasingly angry at the slow pace of the economic recovery in the face of higher government spending.

The draft opens with a GOP pledge, “to dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people.”

Their proposal calls for four steps to create incentive for job growth, including a plan to allow small-business owners to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their business income. Republicans would also extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts, even to those in the top income brackets. Democrats want to extend the cuts only to lower-income earners. Their plan calls for a requirement that Congress approve any new federal regulation that would cost the economy more than $100 million and it would suspend a requirement in the new health care law that businesses report all purchases of $600 or more to the Internal Revenue Service.

“The best way to get people working again is to rein in the growth of government and end the uncertainty facing small businesses,” the draft says.

The GOP agenda outlines plans to cut spending, first by capping the annual federal budget and ending the annual automatic increase. Republicans say they will further cut costs by holding weekly House votes on spending cut proposals suggested in recent weeks by the public through the GOP's “YouCut” project that lets people vote on how to reduce the nation's $1.3 trillion deficit.

Republicans said they would end the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program that was put in place under President Bush to bail out the nation's financial sector. Not all of the funds have been spent and ending the program early would save the government $16 billion, according to the draft.

The draft includes charts and graphs that illustrate how government spending has increased under the Democrats, to about 23 percent of the economy, up from about 19 percent under Bush.

The GOP plan would repeal the Democratic health care reform law and put in place a plan to reduce costs by limiting medical malpractice lawsuits and allowing people to purchase health insurance outside of their home state. The GOP health care plan would prohibit health insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Republicans say they would permanently prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion.

On the opening page, Republicans promise in their agenda to “honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private, faith-based organizations that form the core of American values.”

sferrechio@washingtonexaminer.com

CongressnewsPoliticsUS

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