Change is coming to the House of Representatives, with Republicans taking control of the chamber at noon next Tuesday and undoing a host of COVID-era policies that Democrats had imposed to further insulate themselves in the name of “public health.” The GOP also intends to hit the ground running on a slate of legislative issues that is sure to please conservative voters, on issues ranging from securing the border to pro-life protections for babies born alive following an abortion.
Right as the new Congress is being sworn in, the public will once again have access to the Capitol and all House office buildings, which had been shut since March of 2020. Republicans had been pushing for the reopenings since earlier in 2022, but Democrats and their small House majority stood in the way. As RedState recently reported, the GOP also plans to roll back Nancy Pelosi’s proxy voting policy, which allowed members to stay at home and have a colleague in D.C. cast a vote on their behalf.
Reversing bad Democrat policies seems to be the main focus of the Republicans, as the 118th Congress gets underway, with Steve Scalise (R-LA) unveiling the ambitious floor schedule for the first two weeks. (Scalise is expected to become the new House Majority Leader, presuming Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is elected the new Speaker of the House. This is anything but certain right now, although McCarthy seems to be making concessions to the right wing of his party in order to get to the 218 votes needed to become speaker.)
According to a letter Scalise sent to his Republican colleagues, House leaders intend to bring forth “meaningful, ‘ready-to-go’ legislation in the House. These commonsense measures will address challenges facing hard-working families on issues ranging from energy, inflation, border security, life, taxpayer protection, and more. They should garner wide support and provide an indication of our bold agenda to come.”
Included in this agenda are bills to:
- Rescind “tens of billions of dollars allocated to the IRS for 87,000 new IRS agents in the Inflation Reduction Act”
- Prohibit “non-emergency drawdowns of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve without a plan to increase energy production on federal lands”
- Address “our crisis at the southern border by empowering the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to turn away illegal migrants at the border if the Secretary of DHS does not have operational control”
- Make permanent “the long-standing Hyde Amendment as well as similar provisions to prohibit federal funding for abortion and funding for any insurance plan that includes abortion on demand”
Other priorities include legislation prohibiting the Secretary of Energy from sending petroleum from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China, letting the public know how many criminal cases prosecutors are declining to prosecute, and ensuring that infants born alive after an abortion receive life-saving care on par with measures that would be taken for any newborn.
As Scalise wrote to his colleagues, “The American people spoke on November 8th and decided it was time for a new direction.” This is true — voters are more than tired of seeing Nancy Pelosi wielding the speaker’s gavel — and the Republicans seems to understand that on some level, judging by the priorities Scalise laid out. But, this isn’t our first rodeo with the GOP, and they excel at talking the talk whilst not actually walking the walk. Perhaps the attack on McCarthy from the right flank of the party will be enough to scare all of them into actually proving their conservative bona fides and enacting legislation that protects, empowers, and enriches Americans. It’s their country to lose now.
The 118th Congress will be sworn in on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.