McCarthy draws contrast with McConnell over releasing GOP agenda

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Wednesday defended his push to release a policy agenda ahead of the November midterm elections, drawing a sharp contrast with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has resisted doing so. 

“I think elections are important, but I think it’s more important than just running against another party to tell the American public what you’ll do,” McCarthy said at a press conference during House Republicans’ annual retreat in Florida. 

“We need the American public to join with us,” he added. “And for the American public to join with you and to support you, they first need to know what will you do.”

House Republican leaders are hoping to use the three-day conference near Jacksonville to flesh out key parts of their policy agenda and unify their caucus in support for the proposals before members begin ramping up midterm campaigning. 

While Republicans have already outlined certain legislative proposals, such as education policies, they have yet to fully flesh out their positions on several issues. Asked when the House GOP could release its full agenda, McCarthy said it would likely be by the end of the summer.

“I believe by the end of the summer you’ll see the complete packages,” he said.

McCarthy’s bullishness on rolling out a policy agenda before the November midterms puts him at odds with McConnell, who has dismissed the idea of doing so, believing that the 2022 elections should serve more as a referendum on full Democratic control of Washington than on policy alternatives.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), put out a draft agenda of his own last month in a move that drew immediate criticism from Democrats and the ire of many of his Republican colleagues in the Senate, including McConnell. 

Scott has defended his decision to release a draft policy agenda, arguing that Republicans should be telling voters what they plan to do if the GOP recaptures control of Congress next year. He has also repeatedly noted that the draft agenda was his own and did not necessarily represent the views of all Senate Republicans.

“I put out some policy ideas. I’m going to keep working on this. There’s going to be things people agree with and don’t agree with. There’s going to be, you know, changes we’ll make as people give us their thoughts, but I want to have a conversation about what we do,” Scott told The Hill in an interview earlier this month. “This is what Rick Scott believes in, it’s not the Republican plan. I was very clear that it’s Rick Scott’s policy ideas. It’s nobody else’s policy ideas.”

Tags 2022 midterms House Republican retreat Kevin McCarthy Mitch McConnell Republican agenda Rick Scott

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