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With few votes to spare, McCarthy’s House GOP delivering big on Commitment to America agenda

From the bipartisan select committee on China to voting to eliminate the funding for up to 87,000 new IRS agents, the House GOP is turning their proposed "Commitment to America" agenda into legislation priorities that have passed despite a thin majority

Published: May 13, 2023 11:19pm

Updated: May 14, 2023 1:31am

House Republicans are delivering on their "Commitment to America" agenda by passing a host of bills in the roughly four months they've controlled the chamber by the slightest of majority.

When formally unveiling the agenda at an event in Pennsylvania, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said a GOP-led House would vote to eliminate federal funding for up to 87,000 new Internal Revenue Service agents, which was part of the Democrats' $780 billion Inflation Reduction Act.

The Democrats' bill had passed without Republican votes through budget reconciliation. The House passed the bill repealing the additional IRS funding shortly after the new session of Congress began in January. 

Their agenda, drafted in September 2022, called for advancing a "Parents’ Bill of Rights" and defending "fairness by ensuring that only women can compete in women’s sports."

The GOP-led House later passed bills that would implement a "Parents’ Bill of Rights" and prevent biological men or transgender women from competing in women's sports leagues. 

The conference also vowed to "crack down on prosecutors and district attorneys who refuse to prosecute crimes." The House later passed a bill to block a local Washington, D.C. crime bill that included lower penalties for such crimes as robberies and carjackings. The measure also passed the Senate and President Biden signed it into law.

The House GOP agenda included a section related to securing the U.S. border and combating illegal immigration.

Last week, the House passed a bill to beef up border security by continuing construction of physical barriers at open areas of the U.S.-Mexico border, enhancing technology at the border and resurrecting the Trump-era Remain in Mexico policy. The measure passed shortly before Title 42 expired Friday.

The expiration of the federal rule activated by the Trump administration at the start of the pandemic as public health emergency measure, is expected to bring a surge of migrants to the southern border.

House Republicans, who have a 222-to-213 seat majority, also passed a bill that would increase domestic energy production and reform the permitting process, which was a key part of the Commitment to America agenda that party leaders rolled out before they took control of the chamber.

"Maximize production of reliable, cleaner, American-made energy and cut the permitting process time in half to reduce reliance on foreign countries, prevent rolling blackouts, and lower the cost of gas and utilities," read their agenda.

Under the "fight inflation and lower the cost of living" part of the agenda, the GOP set out to "curb wasteful government spending that is raising the price of groceries, gas, cars, and housing, and growing our national debt." 

As part of the House-passed bill that would raise the debt limit by $1.5 trillion, House Republicans included reverting back to fiscal 2022 spending levels and limiting domestic spending growth by 1% annually.

The bill also included the elimination of a series of "green" tax credits the Democrats passed last December without Republican votes through budget reconciliation. GOP House leadership projected that their legislation would reduce federal spending by $4.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

McCarthy also established a bipartisan Select Committee on China, which is also part of the Commitment agenda.

The agenda also contained a section on reducing crime and protecting public safety, in part, by opposing efforts to defund the police. 

This week, the House is expected to vote on a bill related to policing as well as a resolution to express "support for local law enforcement officers and condemn "efforts to defund or dismantle local law enforcement agencies."

The Protect Our Law enforcement with Immigration Control and Enforcement or POLICE Act of 2023 is up for a vote this week. This legislation would make assaulting a law enforcement officer a "deportable offense." 

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