House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) on Wednesday told his Conference that he would give $1 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee, but only if those in the room gave an additional $3 million right then and there.
Members were up to the challenge and pledged more than $4 million, House Republican sources in the room said.
“We’ve come a long way together,” Boehner told the Members assembled inside the Capitol Hill Club. “I told you in January that this was the year. I told you this is the moment.”
More than a dozen Members gave more than $100,000 each, according to House GOP sources who attended the meeting.
“We intend to come all the way back,” NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) said.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who attended the meeting as a special guest, praised the “Pledge to America” agenda but warned the Republicans that if GOP lawmakers take over the House, they must do exactly what they promise if they want to remain in power.
“I’ve campaigned for potential Members,” Christie said, according to sources in the room. “I tell everyone this is put-up-or-shut-up time. If we don’t do what we promise to do, then we will be sent into the wilderness for a long time.”
At a press conference after the meeting, Republican leaders called for Democrats to hold an up-or-down vote on an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts before Congress adjourns for the year.
“Democrats are putting politics over prosperity,” Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) said. “They are about to walk away without even voting to protect Americans from a tax increase that will take effect in less than 100 days.”
Democratic leaders have publicly refused to rule out a vote on the tax cuts this week, but aides privately conceded that the vote is unlikely. They have blamed Republicans’ insistence on tax cuts for all income brackets, including those who make more than $250,000, for the delay.
Republicans on Wednesday unveiled a “pocket card” version of the “Pledge to America” agenda, which will serve as a smaller, condensed version of the 45-page document that was unveiled in Sterling, Va., last week.