By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
The new GOP agenda fashioned after the 1994 House Republican "Contract with America" is expected to be revealed in September and include legislative proposals, unlike the original version, according to those working on the project unveiled today.
In addition, the new project run by California Rep. Kevin McCarthy will have something else the 1994 version from Newt Gingrich and his allies didn't: A plan to update it every election with new ideas. [See who is donating to McCarthy's campaign.]
According to those familiar with McCarthy's effort, the process of gathering ideas for the new contract or "commitment" will include a website, www.americaspeakingout.com, and a series of August summer vacation town hall meetings where agenda items will be offered up. In addition, instead of Washington writing the new proposal, new candidates for office will be encouraged to offer up their best ideas. "This contract will be more successful than in 1994 because challengers will join in," says one project insider.
Another said the early plans do not have the new contract including a neat list of 10 pledges. The proposals instead will be actual pieces of legislation that the House GOP will be able to vote on next January if they take control from the Democrats. And, said the consultant, the number of items will likely be an odd number. The reason: The GOP doesn't want to simply copy the 1994 list by having 10 items.
At the unveiling of the website today at Washington's Newseum, House Minority Leader John Boehner said, "All across America, the people are speaking out, but unfortunately, Washington hasn't been listening. When you look at all the taxes, all the spending, and all the debt, it's clear that Washington has been doing what's best for Washington, not what's best for America. House Republicans are giving Americans a megaphone to speak out, using the best technology available. AmericaSpeakingOut.com provides a platform for Americans to submit their ideas and have each of them debated and discussed on the merits in an open forum." [See which industries donate to Boehner's campaign.]
Democrats were quick to mock the effort as simply a taxpayer-funded campaign tactic. From Democratic National Committee Communications Director Brad Woodhouse: "Republicans just completed their press conference on their latest taxpayer funded partisan political gimmick known as 'America Speaking Out' initiative and actually proclaimed that it has nothing to do with the November elections. Please. That is the biggest joke I've ever heard. Three quarters of the way thru this Congress, after saying no to every idea that President Obama and congressional Democrats have passed to help turn the country around for their own political purposes, after spending a year and half not offering any real solutions, they are now going to formulate a policy platform just in time for the elections that has nothing do with the elections? If you'll buy that spin I've got some ocean front property you can buy in Arizona."