WASHINGTON - Less than two months before the November election, House Republicans on Tuesday revealed their agenda, which aims to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuild the economy and increase funding for the police.
The House GOP's "Commitment to America" outlines their legislative priorities if they win the majority this fall. The announcement comes after the Republican National Committee chose not to craft an updated platform for 2020 and use the same one adopted at the 2016 Republican National Convention instead.
(One of the results of not updating the 2016 platform is that it leaves in such comments as "For the past 8 years America has been led in the wrong direction," and "The President has been regulating to death a free market economy that he does not like and does not understand," creating an incentive to put forward an updated set of goals.)
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said at a rollout event at the Capitol that his conference's commitment applies to all Americans, regardless of their party affiliation, gender or race.
"We will restore your way of life," the California Republican said. "We will rebuild the greatest economy and we will renew the American dream. Join us and let's reunite this nation."
Since President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, Republicans have controlled the executive branch and legislative branch, with the exception of House Democrats winning the majority in that chamber in 2018. McCarthy, first elected in 2006, was majority leader from 2013 until 2019 and has been minority leader since then.
The plan seeks to quell the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 194,000 Americans this year.
"We've worked with this president to make sure there's funding at the National Institute of Health and there's funding at CMS, HHS and other agencies that are working feverishly to find a vaccine and other remedies," Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana said. "And we're on the doorstop of a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 because of that work."
Since the May police killing of George Floyd, protests have unleashed a nationwide call to grapple with police brutality and implement reforms in law enforcement. There have also been calls to tighten spending on police forces, with some calling to "defund the police," although the phrase means different things to different people, including shifting some responsibilities from police to other social services.
House Republicans are proposing to increase police funding by $1.75 billion for training, community policing and equipment. This includes 500,000 more police body cameras. Rep. Pete Stauber, a former police officer, spoke on that issue. Stauber flipped a Democratic seat in Minnesota in the 2018 elections, a rare bright spot for the chamber's Republicans in 2018.