While Americans rejected many of the most extreme conservative candidates and 2020 election deniers, many of whom were endorsed by former president Trump, Republicans vying for leadership positions in the 118th Congress are still pushing one of the most extreme agendas in recent memory.
Their radical Trump-style proposals – including a 15-week nationwide ban on abortion, and putting Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block – are out of touch with the American people, and would be very harmful – especially to women, senior citizens, and working families.
- Kevin McCarthy, R-CA (presumptive speaker) has threatened to use Medicare, Social Security, and raising the debt ceiling as leverage in budget negotiations to force spending cuts that would hurt working families. This may lead to possible reductions in Medicare coverage and Social Security payouts, and risks a U.S. credit rating downgrade and a global recession.
- Steve Scalise, R-LA (presumptive majority leader), has co-sponsored extreme fetal personhood bills in Congress, which would declare that life begins at conception and do not have exceptions for rape, incest, or risks to the life of the mother.
- Elise Stefanik, R-NY (presumptive conference chair), along with McCarthy and Jim Banks, R-IN (vying for majority whip) have also come out in support a 15-week nationwide ban on abortion.
- Scalise, Stefanik, and Banks have all endorsed a plan to make significant cuts to Medicare and Social Security as part of a proposal by the Republican Study Committee. The proposal would put the programs on the chopping block every five years, strip Medicare of the right to negotiate drug prices, and remove the $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket pharmacy expenses.
Presumptive House Leadership Has Questionable Allegiance to Democracy, Close Ties to Trump
Even in the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection, all the frontrunners for leadership positions voted against certifying the results of the 2020 election. They also voted against the formation of the January 6 committee, even though some initially supported investigations and privately acknowledged Trump’s role in inciting the violence.
After Trump began attacking members of his own party who refused to toe the line, however, they began to repeat Trump’s talking points.
- McCarthy, Scalise, and Stefanik have all cast doubt on whether the outcome of the 2020 election was legitimate, supporting Trump’s false claim the election was stolen. According to McCarthy’s friends, he made the calculation that “the former president’s support is essential for his ambitions to become speaker.”
- Stefanik went as far as to call the formation of the January 6 committee “a political witch hunt,” defended Trump’s praise for Vladamir Putin after the invasion of Ukraine, and has refused to commit to continuing aid to Ukraine if Republicans take control of Congress.
- Stefanik also ran ads claiming Democrats will grant citizenship to undocumented immigrants to help them win in what the ads called a ‘permanent election insurrection.‘ This echoes the white supremacist conspiracy theory known as the ‘great replacement theory.’
- Scalise voted in line with Trump’s position 98 percent of the time. McCarthy voted in line with Trump’s position 97 percent of the time, and praised Trump as Republicans’ “secret weapon” at a 2022 fundraiser, suggesting he could become president again.