Feb. 11, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

GOP Drafts House Agenda for This Year

Bill Clark/Roll Call
Speaking to reporters Monday, Rep. Mike Pence said the new GOP agenda will arise from a process of engaging voters nationwide, with a new website and town hall meetings.

House Republicans on Tuesday will kick off their effort to craft a new agenda with the launch of a website called AmericaSpeakingOut.com, with the intent of releasing a final document in September.

But the agenda will not map the GOP path to victory through the midterm elections; instead it will serve as a policy guide for the rest of the 111th Congress, Republican leaders insist. The current House calendar anticipates an Oct. 8 adjournment.

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for the project’s chairman, Chief Deputy Minority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), said the short life span is because of House rules, which bar Members from carrying House funds over to the next Congress.

“There has been a very big effort to make sure that we are doing this within all House rules,” Buck said. “So we will begin fighting for our policies as soon as this document is introduced, using legislative and parliamentary tools that we have available.”

Despite the small window of time the GOP will have to get its message out, Buck said Republicans would take the time necessary to craft a policy agenda based on public opinion.

“There’s going to be a months-long period of engaging with the American people, asking for their ideas and [gauging] what their priorities are, and that’s going to take time,” Buck said. “Most people come up with an agenda in a back room in Washington, put it forward and say here’s what it is, take it.”

Republican leaders will officially begin the process of soliciting ideas for the GOP agenda through AmericaSpeakingOut.com on Tuesday.

Project leaders McCarthy and Rep. Peter Roskam (Ill.) said in a Monday news release that the site will allow citizens to submit their ideas through “social media technologies” and provide an online forum “for policy debate and idea generation, leading to the creation of an agenda based on conservative principles to get America back on track.”

The America Speaking Out initiative will also include town hall meetings and other public forums that will allow Republicans to gather ideas for the new GOP agenda from citizens around the country.

Republican leaders have said emphatically there would be no coordination with the campaign arms of the party because to do so would violate House rules, a point House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) reiterated during a meeting with reporters Monday.

Asked whether the final document would have any value if it were not used to assist candidates in the midterm elections, Pence said, “I think it’ll be clearer tomorrow that it is a part of a process that is engaging the American people in developing an agenda for Republicans going forward.”

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