GOP ‘pledge’ to create jobs, control spending, repeal health law draws mixed reaction

“In the legislative blueprint that Republicans hope will serve as a roadmap to winning control of the House, they declared their two highest priorities to be creating jobs and stopping ‘out-of-control spending’ by the federal government.” It includes a call to repeal the health law, while retaining “popular provisions.”

“The approach … deviated little from the tenets of mainstream conservatism over the last generation. But even conservative-leaning budget and policy analysts said that the Republican blueprint, as drafted, would lead to bigger, not smaller, deficits and that it did not contain the concrete, politically difficult steps needed to alter the nation’s fiscal trajectory” (Herszenhorn, 9/23).

The Hill: “Addressing a central criticism of the Republicans’ new ‘Pledge to America,’ House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday said he doesn’t have the answer to solving Medicare’s spending crisis. To solve those problems, Boehner said, Congress will first have to initiate ‘an adult conversation’ with voters, who will then decide what fixes to apply. … Yet the document is already drawing fire because it claims to lay out a ‘path to a balanced budget’ without specifying how to rein in spending on the entitlements — particularly Medicare and Medicaid, which together are the single largest driver of deficit spending” (Lillis, 9/23).

The Washington Post headlined its story “From ‘party of no’ to ‘party of stop’?” and said that “Like the ‘Contract With America’ that Republicans issued 16 years ago under their House speaker, Newt Gingrich (Ga.), the Pledge is designed not only to give candidates concrete proposals to include in campaign ads this fall but also to help the party hit the ground running if Republicans win the House. … a paragraph halfway through the Pledge sums up the limits of the Republicans’ willingness to wade into controversial territory. ‘We will make the decisions that are necessary to protect our entitlement programs for today’s seniors and future generations. That means requiring a full accounting of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, setting benchmarks for these programs and reviewing them regularly and preventing the expansion of unfunded liabilities'” (Balz, 9/24).

Los Angeles Times reports that “the 21-page manifesto also showed a party in the middle of a balancing act. The document reflects Republicans’ struggle to harness the energy of the insurgent ‘tea party’ without hitching their wagons to some of the movement’s more politically difficult policy ideas. … Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), the House majority leader, said Republicans had offered no new solutions to the problems plaguing the country” (Hennessey, 9/24).

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