House Republicans’ new “ Commitment to America ,” a campaign platform of sorts, sometimes falls short in specificity. But it draws clear contrasts between the Republican agenda and that of Democrats. The very goals of the two parties are so different as to provide voters a stark choice.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who took a lead role in drafting the Commitment, said the contrast is crucial.
“We have a plan, and we are proud to show the country what it is and let the people across the country have a referendum,” he said. “If they want the same failed policies that have led to inflation, other economic problems, the border being overrun, fentanyl coming in, they can vote for Pelosi and the Democrats. But this gives them a different approach.”
Examples abound of the Commitment's goals that are completely foreign to Democratic thinking. For example, if you said to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that in healthcare, you want to “lower prices through transparency, choice, and competition,” to quote from the Commitment, she would look at you uncomprehendingly, as if the sentence doesn’t compute. For today’s uber-liberal Democrats, the very idea that transparency, choice, and competition are preferable to central planning is, well, exotic.
That’s why the law commonly known as Obamacare, passed entirely with Democratic votes, contained so few ways for patients to mix and match healthcare preferences, whereas Republican Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar led the way from 2018-21 in rewriting numerous regulations to provide options and transparency for consumers . The result was that inflation in the healthcare sector, which for the first six years under Obamacare was quite high, fell to levels at and then below the inflation rate in the rest of the economy.
Likewise, when Republicans pledge to get tough against illegal immigrants by ending “catch-and-release loopholes” and other measures, Democrats flat-out oppose not just the means but the goal. And whereas Republicans pledge to “maximize production of reliable, American-made energy,” quite clearly including fossil fuels, Democrats see those efforts as anathema. They see fossil fuels as an unnecessary evil, with emphasis on the “evil.”
Also sure to receive plenty of campaign emphasis is Republican support for a "Parents’ Bill of Rights" and their pledge to “expand parental choice so over a million more students can receive the education their parents know is best.” President Joe Biden’s Democrats, in contrast, label parents speaking up at school board meetings as domestic terrorists and side with teachers unions lobbies against giving choice to families.
Scalise, who hosted countless “member briefings” with task forces on each broad issue area, said one reason the Commitment is more explicit about goals than discrete, specific bills is that each goal might involve multiple bills in multiple committees. In the energy sector, for example, he said there might be one bill mandating “more lease sales,” another getting “more pipelines built,” and another providing renewed ability “to export to our friends again, so they won’t need to be reliant on Russia or Iran or other bad actors. Together, all of these energy bills will help to bring the price of energy down, not just at the pump but also the cost of home electricity which is skyrocketing across the country.”
Finally, he said the very process for this legislation will be markedly different from Pelosi’s top-down approach.
“We want our committees actively involved in debating the details, writing the bills, getting things right … in public, open view, where the public can actually follow and weigh in,” he said.
There will be more to say about the Commitment to America in the coming days, but for now, it’s great to see less vitriolic rhetoric and more of something positive and focused for which citizens can vote.