The announcement comes as once-rosy predictions of a sweeping red tide in November’s elections have faded in recent weeks and Democrats have outperformed expectations in late-in-the-cycle special elections this summer. President Joe Biden’s approval rating — a leading indicator of his party’s chances in a midterm election — has rebounded of late, the enthusiasm gap between Republican and Democratic voters has narrowed, and polls now show independents edging toward Democrats. Still, most prognosticators believe the GOP will narrowly win the House this year.
While inflation rose sharply over much of the past year, the last two months have shown a leveling off, with little-to-no month-to-month increases, driven in large part by a sharp decline in gas prices. At the same time, Democrats have strung together a series of legislative wins recently, including a major climate change and health care bill.
“That very first day that we’re sworn in, you’ll see that it all changes, because our very first bill, we’re going to repeal 87,000 IRS agents,” McCarthy said, repeating a widely debunked and inflated figure.
The plan also promises to dial back spending, castigating Democrats for passing the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan in March 2021. During the Trump administration — including two years of unified GOP control in the 115th Congress — federal spending grew every year, even before accounting for about $4 trillion in COVID-19 relief spending enacted with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2020.
Republicans also pledged to support the hiring of 200,000 new police officers by providing hiring bonuses, blaming an increase in crime since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic on liberal policies in Democratic-led cities. Violent crime, however, is up across the nation, including in rural areas. On Thursday, the House passed legislation that would provide smaller police departments more funds for recruiting and training officers. While bipartisan, more Republicans (55) than Democrats (9) opposed the bill, a version of which passed the Senate unanimously in August.