House GOP leadership outlines agenda for short session

McClatchy Washington BureauSeptember 4, 2014 

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Incoming House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif. speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority event in Washington, Friday, June 20, 2014.


Bills to keep the federal government open and upbraid President Barack Obama over his handling of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdhal prisoner swap top the House Republican agenda when Congress returns from its August recess.

In a lengthy memo to House Republicans Thursday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the chamber will consider a Continuing Resolution – or CR – that would enable to keep the federal government functioning beyond Sept. 30, when the fiscal year ends.

Democrats have tried to portray congressional Republicans as itching for a repeat of last year’s 16-day partial government shutdown, using Obama’s anticipated actions to ease immigration rules as a rationale.

However, any immigration changes by the White House aren’t likely to occur until after November’s elections, and even if Obama does make changes, Republican leaders have made it clear that they have no interest in shuttering the government.

But that doesn’t mean the CR won’t face a fight before its likely passage. McCarthy’s memo didn’t mention taking action on the Export-Import Bank, which also expires on Sept. 30.

Many conservative Republicans regard the bank as corporate welfare and want to kill it while House Republican leaders are seeking an extension to keep the bank alive. It’s unclear currently whether the Export-Import Bank would be part of the CR or a free-standing measure.

McCarthy indicated that the House will also weigh in on foreign affairs matters during its two-week session. He said lawmakers will vote on a resolution to register their disapproval of Obama not giving 30 days’ notice before swapping Bergdahl for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay last May.

He didn’t say whether the House intends to take any action regarding the recent deadly violent activities of Islamic State militants. But that didn’t stop McCarthy from criticizing the president.

‘The administration has been too passive as these terrorist organizations have been allowed to acquire new safe havens and grow in strength…,’ McCarthy wrote in his memo. ‘I believe that it is critical that we confront and defeat ISIL and like-minded terrorists who directly threaten America.’


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