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House Republicans, led by John Boehner, plan to unveil their "Pledge to America" (today, Thursday) at a hardware store in Sterling, Virginia. An advanced copy obtained by CBS News reveals few surprises, but gives voters a basic idea of what Republicans will do if they take over the House next year. It is also a clear pledge to the Tea Party with its focus on Constitutional principles and government spending. "With this document, we pledge to dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people" the members say in the opening. "This is our Pledge to America." Pledge to America: Full Text The GOP plan is to stop the Bush tax cuts from expiring for all Americans, not just the middle class as many Democrats would like. Republicans would allow small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income. And they would repeal and replace health care with "common-sense solutions focused on lowering costs and protecting American jobs." The Pledge also promises to reform the way Congress works by requiring each bill to have Constitutional citations and by giving members at least three days to read legislation before it comes to the floor for a vote. On defense, they promise to fully fund the troops, missile defense and to enforce sanctions in Iran.Read the full article here. Jill Jackson is a CBS News senior political producer. You can read more of her posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow her on Twitter.
With control of the House, the Republicans said they would seek to immediately cancel any unspent money from last year's $787 billion economic stimulus program, to freeze the size of the "nonsecurity" federal work force, and to quickly cut $100 billion in discretionary spending. But the blueprint, with echoes of the 1994 Contract With America, does not specify how the spending reductions would be carried out.Not all conservatives are in love with the Pledge to America: See RedState's Erick Erickson Eviscerates GOP's "Pledge To America", Daily Kos, September 22, 2010, by StuHunter:
Tonight, CNN contributor Erick Erickson of RedState, The Republican's answer to the Daily Kos and its founder Markos Moulitsas just tore apart and ripped into shreds the House GOP's new plan to be unveiled tomorrow... "Pledge To America." This is the GOP's pathetic attempt to recapture Newt Gingrich's 1994 "Contract With America" which failed miserably and has been aptly renamed "Contract On America."See Perhaps the Most Ridiculous Thing to Come Out of Washington Since George McClellan, Red State, September 22, 2010, by Erick Erickson: Erickson gives the Pledge an A+ on rhetoric and a C- on ideas, so it's not like he absolutely hates it.
FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- President Obama is trying to reconnect with the American people, and he is using that most American of settings, the backyard, to do it. Mr. Obama emerged from the back door of Paul and Frances Brayshaw's tidy white brick house here on Wednesday and trotted down some steps onto their patio under a bright noonday sun with a hearty "Hey, everybody! Hello, hello, hello! Good to see you." About two dozen guests awaited him in lawn chairs for what was supposed to be a casual conversation on health care and, more broadly, the American economy. It was Mr. Obama's third such "backyard conversation" in recent weeks, and there are more in store. Another three backyard drop-ins are planned for next week, when Mr. Obama travels to New Mexico, Wisconsin and Iowa, and there will be more throughout the campaign season -- part of what his aides describe as a concerted push to get him out of the White House to mingle with everyday Americans and hear their concerns.Commentary by Evans Liberal Politics owner Paul Evans: Since Republicans have made repeal of health care reform a top priority on their campaign agenda, the Obama administration has been attempting to counterattack by connecting with voters and educating them about the benefits of the new health care law. In my opinion, I'm not sure how wise this is and I hope the White House knows what it's doing here. Last time I checked public opinion it was running rather strongly against the health care reform bill, six months after passage. Rasmussen, which can be counted on the add 5 to 10 points to the right wing positions in their polling (IMHO), has 61 percent of Americans in favor of repealing the health care law. Even Gallop has Americans disapproving of the health care reform law, with 39 percent approving and 56 percent disapproval (September 13, 2010 results). Even accounting for a polling bias by Rasmussen, as the normally unbiased Gallop results show, this sort of public disapproval makes health care reform a difficult thing for Democrats to campaign on.
Sometimes lost in the partisan clamor about the new health care law is the profound relief it is expected to bring to hundreds of thousands of Americans who have been stricken first by disease and then by a Darwinian insurance system. On Thursday, the six-month anniversary of the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PDF), a number of its most central consumer protections take effect, just in time for the midterm elections. Starting now, insurance companies will no longer be permitted to exclude children because of pre-existing health conditions, which the White House said could enable 72,000 uninsured to gain coverage. Insurers also will be prohibited from imposing lifetime limits on benefits. The law will now forbid insurers to drop sick and costly customers after discovering technical mistakes on applications. It requires that they offer coverage to children under 26 on their parents' policies. It establishes a menu of preventive procedures, like colonoscopies, mammograms and immunizations, that must be covered without co-payments. And it allows consumers who join a new plan to keep their own doctors and to appeal insurance company reimbursement decisions to a third party.Some of the Republican Madness: