The Pledge to America: The Basics
10:25 AM, Sep 23, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
The GOP will officially release its modern Contract With America today at an event in Sterling, Va., but the commentary on the 21-page document is already plentiful.
CBS has the full document, which is split into sections on Jobs, Cutting Spending, Repealing and Replaceing Health Care Reform, Reforming Congress, and Defense.
The National Review deems it bolder than the Contract With America, but wishes it were bolder in spots. The editors declare the jobs section weakest, but notes there are plenty of crowd-pleasers that will be hard to argue against:
Phil Klein at The American Spectator is underwhelmed, as are some conservatives who prefer that the GOP take a bold, Paul Ryan tack in the future:
The "reform Congress" section is likely to have fans in the aftermath of the messy health care reform fight. A promise to have bills online for three days before Congress votes is far more practical and useful pledge than Obama's empty promise to have bills online for five days between passage and signing (although almost entirely cosmetic, he didn't even bother to keep this pledge).
The Jobs section promises to stop "job-killing tax hikes permanently," allow small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income, require that new regulatory demands pass Congress, repeal the 1099 section of the health-care law.
The Cutting Spending section promises to roll back government spending to pre-stimulus/bailout levels, put a freeze on federal hiring, discontinue TARP, cap Congress' budget, hold weekly votes on spending cuts, adopt sunset requirements for programs, end federal entanglement with Fannie and Freddie, reckon with the shortfalls of entitlement programs in the budget, and repeal and replace Obamacare.
Reforming Congress would require that each bill have a constitutional citation to explain why Congress has the authority to enact it, the requirement that bills be online for three days before votes, allow amendments on spending bills, and pledges to advance major legislation one issue at a time.
The Defense section calls for passing clean troop-funding bills, funding missile defense, upholding the terrorist detention system, and enforcing sanctions against Iran.
Here is the preamble of the Pledge on YouTube. It's a little dry for a YouTube video, but the writing is pretty good, and the beginning is quite uplifiting:
The Democrats have already released a response, which uses Newt Gingrich and George Bush as its bogeymen.
The White House's Dan Pfeiffer:
What the administration and Democrats don't consider, though, is that the health-care process revealed that Washington is broken in an entirely different way than the uperficially populist way Obama talked about it being broken, and that Obama was willing to exacerbate the problems to pass bills he liked. The Pledge attempts to grapple with Americans' new awareness of how their government works. Even where it falls short (and I think Congressional, entitlement reforms and moves toward transparency could have been much bolder), it has a leg up on Democrats who have not yet realized that Obama's mere "special interests" bashing doesn't work anymore because the American people consider the federal government a special interest in and of itself.
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