House Republicans have failed to pass much of their agenda in first 3 months
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy claims his caucus is ‘keeping our Commitment to America’.
Three months since the start of the 118th Congress, House Republicans have failed to pass many of the bills they promised to in the first two weeks of the session. On Monday, they began circulating a graphic containing the misleading claim that they have kept many of their promises.
“House Republicans are keeping our Commitment to America,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy tweeted, sharing the image listing 11 ways his caucus has purportedly done so.
The list includes some minor procedural moves: One reopened sections of House buildings that had been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and another ended the House’s temporary pandemic proxy voting system. It also touts the House’s passage of a few bills, including the anti-LGBTQ+ Parents Bill of Rights and the pro-oil-and-gas Lower Energy Costs Act, which are unlikely to get a vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
“Under @SpeakerMcCarthy’s leadership, @HouseGOP is keeping our commitment to America,” tweeted Alabama Rep. Jerry Carl, sharing the same image.
Some of the purported accomplishments were misleading or outright false.
McCarthy (R-CA) claims to have “repealed 87,000 IRS Agents,” but that has not happened. The House Republican majority voted to pass a bill in January to cut funding in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act intended to allow the Internal Revenue Service to modernize and enhance its enforcement efforts against tax evasion by large corporations and wealthy individuals. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the provisions in question are expected to pay for themselves and provide the government with an additional $114 billion in funds over a decade. But fact-checkers have repeatedly debunked GOP lawmakers’ claims that the funding in the act will be used to hire 87,000 new agent positions; instead, much of the money will help the agency replace about 50,000 employees eligible for retirement over the next five years.
McCarthy claims that the new majority had “eliminated the military vaccine mandate,” but that mandate was rescinded to comply with the bipartisan defense authorization package passed in December by the previous Congress.
McCarthy’s claim that the House GOP “stopped the selling of the SPR to China” is also untrue. House Republicans (and most House Democrats) passed a bill in January restricting the sale of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China or to entities affiliated with the Chinese government. But the bill has received no action in the Senate, and it has not gone into effect.
Similarly, the speaker’s claim that the House Republicans “blocked Biden’s WOTUS rule” makes it seem like they overturned regulations issued by the Biden administration to protect the waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act. While both the House and Senate did vote to vacate the rules, President Joe Biden vetoed their efforts on April 6. Since neither the House nor the Senate had nearly the required two-thirds support to overturn a veto, the policies will likely go into effect.
McCarthy’s dishonest claims come as House Republicans have struggled to pass their legislative agenda.
Though they have refused to pass a clean bill to avert a cataclysmic default on the national debt, Republicans have not been able to agree on any budget proposal and have struggled to find a path to keeping their promises of a balanced budget along with their promises not to cut funding for popular safety net programs or national security.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise promised in December that his caucus would pass 11 “ready-to-go” legislative proposals in the first two weeks of the new Congress, including right-wing plans to meddle with decisions made by progressive local prosecutors, restrict immigration, and roll back abortion rights. Reportedly faced with internal dissent, nearly half of those votes have still not happened.
On April 6, the New York Times reported that McCarthy had been privately criticizing key lieutenants, including Scalise and Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington, deeming them less than competent.
Politico reported a day later that an unnamed senior House Republican had said McCarthy “made a bunch of promises during the speaker race that were always untenable, but he made them anyway,” predicting, “At a certain point, a lot of that stuff is going to collide, and he’s getting nervous and looking for others to blame.”
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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