McCarthy Previews GOP Agenda for 2023

McCarthy Previews GOP Agenda for 2023

By Yuval Rosenberg and Michael Rainey
Monday, November 7, 2022

Happy Monday! We’re just hours away from Election Day and a momentous pivot point for Congress, Joe Biden’s presidency and the country. As momentous as that is, we’re also watching this week for the release of Consumer Price Index inflation data for October.

Here’s what you need to know. And please be sure to vote!

McCarthy Previews GOP Agenda for 2023

With Republicans widely expected to win control of the House in Tuesday’s midterm election, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is the leading candidate to become the next speaker, and this weekend he talked to CNN about what he plans to do if he is on control of the House starting in January.

"The first thing you’ll see is a bill to control the border first," he told CNN’s Melanie Zanona. "You’ve got to get control over the border. You’ve had almost 2 million people just this year alone coming across."

McCarthy added that he would like to use the death penalty for drug traffickers bringing fentanyl into the country, and to see the U.S. revive the Trump administration policy that required immigrants at the Southern border to remain in Mexico until the date of their immigration hearings in the U.S.

It’s not clear, however, how Republicans would be able to force President Joe Biden to reconsider his suspension of that policy – or indeed make any substantial changes at the Southern border without reaching an agreement with a White House that is likely to oppose their efforts.

Noting the difficulty of winning legislative battles in a divided government, CNN’s Zanona and Kristin Wilson said there’s a good chance that many of the bills offered by House Republicans in the next Congress "will be primarily messaging endeavors" given Democrats’ control of the executive branch — and, potentially, of the Senate.  

Hearings and a potential showdown: McCarthy also said Republicans would ramp up investigations into the Biden administration, citing issues such as the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the real "origins of Covid" and oversight of federal spending during the pandemic.

Asked if impeachment was a possibility, McCarthy vowed that Republicans "will never use impeachment for political purposes" – while adding, "That doesn’t mean if something rises to the occasion, it would not be used at any other time."

Federal spending will be a central focus, as well, McCarthy said, with Republicans planning to demand cuts in spending in return for cooperating with any increases in the debt ceiling, which will likely be necessary at some point in 2023. That approach involves the threat of defaulting on U.S. debt payments, an event that economists say would be disastrous for the global economy. But McCarthy denied that he would risk default, as some of the more extreme members of his party have discussed. "People talk about risking it," he said. "You don’t risk a default."

Still, expect to see more involvement from lawmakers on the extreme edge of the party. McCarthy indicated that he plans to restore Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to her committee assignments, which were taken from her by Democrats last year after she made incendiary comments about numerous topics, including calling the president Hitler and suggesting that wildfires in California were set intentionally by nefarious powers backed by an international cabal of Jewish bankers.  

The bottom line: McCarthy made it clear that, as expected, Republicans will focus on border security, government spending and executive oversight, but provided few details about how he could successfully change federal policies in a divided government. The potential for partisan conflict looks high, though, and includes the possibility of a risky showdown over the debt ceiling.

Numbers of the Day: 435, 35, 36 and 27

Here’s an overview of what’s a stake in the midterm elections: All 435 House seats will be decided, with Republicans hoping to move from their current 212-member minority to a majority of 218 or more — with the size of any new majority potentially key to determining the dynamics of the 118th Congress. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who hopes to become speaker, set some expectations, telling CNN in an interview airing Monday that a GOP gain of over 20 seats should be considered a "red wave."

On the Senate side, 35 of the 100 seats are up for grabs, including 21 currently held by the GOP and 14 held by Democrats. With the Senate now evenly divided, a net gain of just one seat for either party would swing control of the chamber.

Election Day will also determine 36 governorships and 27 secretaries of state.

See more about what the next two years might look like at The Washington Post, which breaks down three potential scenarios.

Chart of the Day: What’s on Voters’ Minds

This Bloomberg chart highlighting polling results from The Economist and YouGov lays out what U.S. voters say will determine, or has determined, how they cast their ballots. No surprise that the economy and inflation top the list, or that crime and abortion are high on the list. You can dive into updated data here.

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Voters Will Consider At Least $66 Billion in Bond Measures: Report

Voters will be considering at least $66 billion of bond measures by states and municipalities, Nic Querolo of Bloomberg News reports. The proposed new financing is more than double the $27 billion put to voters last year and is among the highest annual totals since 2009, according to a Bloomberg analysis of data from IHS Markit.

"Texas, California and New York are driving the surge in proposed issuance. Combined, the three states, which were the biggest borrowers in the municipal-bond market in 2021, are seeking voter approval of roughly $40 billion of bonds," Querolo writes, adding, "Bonding plans typically take local officials months to prepare so the measures likely reflect borrowing plans conceived when interest rates were lower and economic forecasts were rosier."


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