House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Friday spelled out for fellow Republicans a relatively sparse House spring legislative agenda in a memo decorated with historical context.
Cantor began his memo by noting that May marks 238 years since Thomas Jefferson returned to Philadelphia to attend the Second Continental Congress. "Within a month he was tasked with writing our Declaration of Independence and in it, he wrote: 'that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.' "
What does that have to do with the Republican legislative agenda? Cantor draws a parallel, saying, "We continue our work on our agenda to ensure that every American has the opportunity to pursue Happiness by building an America that Works."
Get the connection to Jefferson? Well, if not, Cantor further spells it out, saying Republicans hope to:
• Provide an environment for economic growth and job creation.
• Act to remedy government policies that are contributing to a weak economy.
• Reform the health care system by replacing the Affordable Care Act with policies that improve patient choice.
• Ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to receive a quality education.
Cantor eventually reveals in the memo that House Republicans will consider a charter-school bill during the week of May 5. "Under this legislation, states also will have the ability to expand and replicate high-performing charter schools," he wrote.
Lawmakers also see an opportunity to begin addressing "some of the currently lapsed tax extenders," he says. As part of that, Cantor says, the House will consider a permanent research and development tax credit bill in May, explaining, "This will put American companies, especially American manufacturers, on par with their international competitors."
In addition, lawmakers return from their spring break on Monday will take up the first two of a dozen 2015 spending bills. The measures to be taken up this week are the mostly noncontroversial Military Construction-Veterans Affairs and Legislative Branch bills.
Cantor also said the Armed Services Committee is working on a bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act and that several veterans bills are in the works.
Finally, he writes that the House in May will consider a contempt of Congress resolution against former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner, "unless she agrees to testify before the Oversight Committee" regarding the IRS's targeting of conservative groups for special scrutiny.
"Thank you for all your hard work," Cantor told lawmakers, "and I look forward to a productive spring building an America that Works for everyone."