House Republicans Claim "Change" Mantle

Congressional Republicans aren't ceding "change" rhetoric to the Democrats.

In a memo released this morning, House Republican Leaders outlined their overarching message for the 2008 elections. The GOP leaders suggest that despite their promises, Democrats failed to bring real change following their 2006 takeover of Congress. Now, they write, it is up to the GOP to bring "American families the change they really deserve."

"House Democrats said they represented change in 2006," the memo says. "They promised a 'new direction for America,' a 'commonsense plan' to 'lower gas prices' and 'tax cuts for the middle class.'"

"Promises made, promises broken," the memo continues, accusing Democrats of "a betrayal of trust, a failure to learn from the mistakes both parties made in the past."

It goes on to lay out the "common-sense conservative principles" Republicans will be pressing this year. They include "affordable, high-quality health care for every American by giving families greater choice and control, not through a massive expansion of government health care controlled by bureaucrats"; economic policy that includes balancing the budget by 2012, cutting spending, and "stopping the largest tax increase in American history"; moving towards energy independence; and improving national security through securing America's borders and "giving terrorists plotting new attacks no place to hide."

Republicans have seen worrying signs already this year, with special elections resulting in Democrats willing traditionally Republican districts signaling that the GOP could suffer big losses in November. (Another special election to watch occurs tomorrow in Mississippi.) The memo sets the tone for the party's effort to at least limit losses in November, and comes two days before House Republicans unveil their "American Families Agenda," a "blueprint [that] speaks to the specific challenges American families face in the 21st century."

More from the memo: "Washington is broken, the American people want it fixed, and Democrats in Washington have proven unable or unwilling to get the job done. Republicans will."

Full memo below:

To: Members of the House Republican Conference
From: House Republican Leaders
Date: May 12, 2008
Re: The Change America Deserves

Americans are less than six months from an historic election. And once again, this election will be about change.

House Democrats said they represented change in 2006. They promised a "new direction for America," a "commonsense plan" to "lower gas prices" and "tax cuts for the middle class."

Promises made, promises broken. Democrats in control of Congress passed the largest tax increase in American history, burdening the middle class with higher taxes to bankroll hundreds of billions in new Washington spending. Costs of living have skyrocketed. Americans are now paying a Pelosi premium at the gas pump, with prices $1.30 higher than when the Speaker was sworn-in last year. Home values have fallen, and the economy has slowed dramatically.

This is not the change Democrats promised America. In fact, the Democrats' record is a betrayal of trust, a failure to learn from the mistakes both parties made in the past. No wonder congressional approval ratings are at all-time lows and cynicism in politics has never been more pervasive.

This has to change. It must change.

Seventeen months ago, House Republicans embarked on a new journey, seeking to revive the common-sense conservative principles that built our historic majority. In that time, we have worked together tirelessly to turn those ideals into a blueprint of real solutions for the American people. That process has culminated in a positive agenda of reform that delivers the change the American people are crying out for:

  • Health Care. Affordable, high-quality health care for every American by giving families greater choice and control, not through a massive expansion of government health care controlled by bureaucrats;
  • Economy. A stronger economy by stopping the largest tax increase in American history, cutting wasteful Washington spending, balancing the budget by 2012, passing serious entitlement reform and strengthening our housing sector.
  • Energy. An energy policy that increases the supply of American-made energy – making us more energy independent, helping bring down gasoline and diesel prices, and creating jobs here at home; and
  • Security. Security from threats our families face both at home and abroad by securing our borders once and for all, taking on the rising criminal threats in our communities and giving terrorists plotting new attacks no place to hide.

    This week, House Republican leaders will brief the Conference on our plan, our solutions and our message. It is the result of many months of work by Republicans, including the "Reasons to Believe" working groups established by Leader Boehner; Chairman McCotter and the House Republican Policy Committee; Conference Vice Chair Kay Granger's WIN project; our ranking members, our rank-and-file members and our party's presidential nominee, Senator John McCain.

    It starts with this: Washington is broken, the American people want it fixed, and Democrats in Washington have proven unable or unwilling to get the job done. Republicans will.

    Americans have seen first-hand the change Democrats are making, and it is moving America in the wrong direction. To the American people, we say that Republicans will deliver "the change you deserve."

    One product of our larger effort will be announced to the American people on Wednesday, when Vice Chair Granger unveils our "American Families Agenda." This blueprint speaks to the specific challenges American families face in the 21st century and backs it up with legislation sponsored by House Republicans.

    And starting the week of May 19 in advance of Memorial Day, Republicans will announce an energy agenda, followed by subsequent plans on the economy, security and health care policy.

    Through our "Change You Deserve" message and through our "American Families Agenda," House Republicans will continue our efforts to speak directly to an American public looking for leaders who will offer real solutions for the challenges they confront every day.

    Together, we can deliver for American families the change they really deserve. You will learn more about it this week.

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