House Republicans, bullish on midterms, plot return to power

Mar 25, 2022, 12:01 PM | Updated: 12:27 pm
FILE - House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washin...

FILE - House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, March 18, 2022. Republican lawmakers gathered at a retreat in Florida this week to plot out strategy for this year's midterm elections. The conference needs only a handful of seats to win the House and they are exceedingly confident in their chances. They see former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who swept away four decades of Democratic House rule with the "Contract With America" in 1994, as a model. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The House majority seemingly within their grasp, Republican lawmakers huddling at a retreat in Florida this week turned to the architect of the “Republican Revolution” nearly three decades ago — former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — for ideas on starting their own political revolt come November.

Needing only a handful of seats to recapture the House, Republicans are exceedingly confident of their chances. With incumbent Democrats retiring in droves, and President Joe Biden’s poll numbers slumping amid deep voter pessimism about the economy, many in the party — including their leader Kevin McCarthy — are treating the Republican victory as a fait accompli.

They see Gingrich, the man who swept away four decades of Democratic House rule with the “Contract With America” in 1994, as a model. He spoke to House Republicans Wednesday night as they gathered in Jacksonville, Fla., to prepare for the campaigning ahead. His message was simple: offer a contrast to what he called the failing Democratic agenda and then deliver to the American people.

“He saw the chance in Republicans when no one thought we could win,” McCarthy said on Wednesday. “If we’re successful, in which we win 18 seats, that’s the same number of Republicans after the 1994 election.”

He added, “But it’s different than just recruiting candidates and raising money. It’s what you do with it. You make a commitment to the American public.”

But while Republicans have numbers on their side in the election, what they would do with a majority is very much a work in progress. And it remained unclear at the three-day retreat what, if any, lessons Republicans have learned from the tumultuous eras of Gingrich, Dennis Hastert, John Boehner and Paul Ryan — the past four Republican House speakers, all of whom found it is easier to win power in the House than to control it.

Much of Gingrich’s “contract” never became law as the triumph of the ’94 elections gave way to intra-party strife, a damaging budget standoff that ended in a government shutdown and an ethics tangle that contributed to Gingrich leaving office. Boehner, like Gingrich, relinquished the gavel and resigned amid divisions between the party’s ideological factions.

McCarthy, 57, is charting his own delicate course as he works to become speaker in what would be a divided Washington, with President Joe Biden still in the White House. Last summer McCarthy tasked several groups of Republican lawmakers with drafting proposals on the party’s core legislative priorities, including lowering costs in the economy, securing the Southern border and countering China, in hopes of making a fast start in 2023.

But creating a governing majority is a daunting challenge. Hard-right members of the conference are ascendant, creating headaches with their inflammatory actions and statements. Many in the party are likely to welcome new rounds of brinkmanship over government spending and the debt. And some Republicans are already agitating for partisan investigations of figures like Dr. Anthony Fauci and President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, that could easily overshadow their legislation.

Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump continues to hold enormous sway over the GOP despite his attempts to overturn the 2020 election and his lies about election fraud that fueled the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. McCarthy has kept close to Trump, jetting to his private club to secure his support earlier this year, as the party relies on his brand and his fundraising prowess to motivate Republican voters.

North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry, who is the top Republican of the Financial Services Committee and close to GOP leadership, said what comes after the election is what will determine whether a new GOP majority endures.

“I think right now, not being the Democrats is a sufficient answer to win the election,” Rep. Patrick McHenry, the top Republican of the Financial Services Committee, told The Associated Press in an interview. “But that doesn’t make us worth a damn as a governing majority. That doesn’t electrify our electorate. That doesn’t bring over folks that are in the middle.”

Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, in line to take over the powerful House Oversight committee, said the way for the conference to move forward is to focus on what they can realistically deliver to the American people.

“We’ve got plenty of things that I think the base and the American people will appreciate that we can do,” he said. “So let’s commit to things that are achievable, not just talking points that will get you on Fox News for four and a half minutes.”

Members spent the damp and rainy days of the retreat reiterating that while there are loud voices on the fringe of party lines, including a few who have called for Biden’s impeachment, the majority are united behind McCarthy’s vision.

“I call it a 50-year election,” McCarthy told reporters. “It won’t come around like this in the House” for a long time.

Gingrich gave McCarthy a vote of confidence, saying he’s capable of leading them to victory.

“I think (Kevin) proved that in the last election,” Gingrich told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “If you look at who won and what their recruiting has been like.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              FILE - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich stands as he waits for an audience with Pope Francis, Jan. 24, 2020. Republican lawmakers gathered at a retreat in Florida this week to plot out strategy for this year's midterm elections. The conference needs only a handful of seats to win the House and they are exceedingly confident in their chances. They see Gingrich, who swept away four decades of Democratic House rule with the "Contract With America" in 1994, as a model. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis, File)
            
              FILE - House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, March 18, 2022. Republican lawmakers gathered at a retreat in Florida this week to plot out strategy for this year's midterm elections. The conference needs only a handful of seats to win the House and they are exceedingly confident in their chances. They see former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who swept away four decades of Democratic House rule with the "Contract With America" in 1994, as a model. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

AP

Associated Press

Low-cost fashion chain H&M reports 4th-quarter loss

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Low-cost fashion brand H&M said Friday that shutting down its business in Russia and Belarus had a significant negative impact on its results, while increases in the costs of raw materials and freight and a strong U.S. dollar made purchases more expensive. The Sweden-based group said its net profit for the year […]
4 hours ago
FILE- Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani attends the 'Invest Karnataka 2016 - Global Investors Meet'...
Associated Press

Adani mulls suing US short-seller as shares sink up to 20%

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s Adani Group launched a share offering for retail investors Friday as it mulled taking legal action against U.S.-based short-selling firm Hindenburg Research over a report that led investors to dump its shares, with some stocks in the group falling up to 20% on Friday. The market value of Adani’s companies […]
4 hours ago
A currency trader passes by the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left...
Associated Press

Global shares edge higher, tracking Wall Street rally

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares advanced Friday, tracking a rally on Wall Street following reports suggesting the economy and corporate profits may be doing better than feared. France’s CAC 40 gained 0.2% to 7,107.44. Germany’s DAX was unchanged at 15,134.04, while Britain’s FTSE 100 rose nearly 0.2% to 7,773.10. The future for the Dow Jones […]
4 hours ago
Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, left, and Senate Approp...
Associated Press

5 women, immense power: Can they keep US from fiscal brink?

WASHINGTON (AP) — They are now among the most powerful women in Congress. But when they were first elected in the 1990s, they were often overlooked, or even talked down to. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, remembers that men would avoid asking her questions, addressing other men in the room instead. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., says […]
1 day ago
FILE - An employee adds drops of water-soluble CBD, or cannabidiol, an essential component of medic...
Associated Press

Hong Kong to ban CBD, label it a ‘dangerous drug’

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong will ban CBD starting Wednesday, categorizing it as a “dangerous drug” and mandating harsh penalties for its smuggling, production and possession, customs authorities announced Friday. Supporters say CBD can treat a range of ailments including anxiety and that, unlike its more famous cousin THC — which is already illegal […]
1 day ago
FILE - A pumpjack as seen on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, in Tatum, New Mexico. For the second time t...
Associated Press

House GOP seeks new restrictions on use of US oil stockpile

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the second time this month, House Republicans are seeking to restrict presidential use of the nation’s emergency oil stockpile — a proposal that has already drawn a White House veto threat. A GOP bill set for a vote Friday would require the government to offset any non-emergency withdrawals from the Strategic […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
House Republicans, bullish on midterms, plot return to power