IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Lacking a policy agenda, GOP's McCarthy unveils 'task forces'

Republicans don't have a policy agenda, but Kevin McCarthy hopes to change that with new "task forces." There's a reason this will almost certainly fail.


Congressional Republicans are not only uninterested in governing, they also haven't bothered to craft anything resembling a policy agenda. In fact, it was just last summer when Republican officials decided they'd go without a party platform for the first time since 1854.

But as House Republicans find themselves directionless and powerless, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced yesterday that he and his colleagues have a new policymaking plan. It apparently involves "task forces." From the House GOP leader's latest statement:

"When Republicans retake the majority, we will come prepared to implement policies that will actually solve problems and improve people's lives. That is why earlier this year I informed the conference that we would be rolling out Republican Task Forces designed to tackle the several crises that currently threaten our great nation. Today, I am proud to formally announce both the task force leaders and the full list of members who will be fighting to better our country for all Americans. These task forces will be critical in building consensus around ideas to continue to build on our Commitment to America and ensure that the next century is an American one."

There are seven task forces in all, with panels focusing on economic policy, "Big Tech censorship," the "future of American freedoms," energy policy, security issues, health care, and "accountability" for China. Serving on these various panels will be 111 House Republicans -- roughly half of the larger House GOP conference.

To be sure, it's certainly possible that the Republicans on these task forces will roll up their sleeves, engage in rigorous study, explore detailed policy solutions with experts and stakeholders, and spend the next several months putting the finishing touches on a credible governing agenda that can stand up to real scrutiny.

But I wouldn't count on it.

The problem is not just that the modern GOP has become a post-policy party, indifferent to the substance of policymaking, though that's certainly a critical element. Making matters worse is the House Republicans' bench.

As a report in Forbes noted yesterday, the panel devoted to the "future of American freedoms" will ostensibly be focused on "restor[ing] American ideals like the rule of law and separation of powers." It will be led, however, by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who'll work alongside the likes of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.).

Forbes' report added, "A panel on 'American Security,' will include Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), who likened the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol to a 'normal tourist visit,' as well as Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), who has espoused conspiracy theories that the attack wasn't committed by supporters of former President Donald Trump."

Making matters slightly worse, task forces themselves hardly inspire confidence. "Big Tech censorship" is a made-up issue, and the idea that a health care panel -- led in part by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) -- will come up with a credible plan after more than a decade of GOP failure on the issue is difficult to take seriously.

I'll be eager to see what this initiative comes up with, but I'd also recommend keeping expectations low.