Cantor: House GOP Agenda Follows in Jefferson’s Footsteps

House Republicans reveal a modest legislative agenda for spring.

National Journal
Billy House
April 25, 2014, 11:04 a.m.

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.”

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