WASHINGTON — Drawing on ideas favored by conservatives and stoked by "tea party" activists, House Republicans today will unveil a governing manifesto that calls for cuts in government spending, repeal of the new health care measure and a strict constitutional test for every proposed law, according to a draft.
The 21-page blueprint, called "A Pledge To America," offers the most detailed picture yet of how Republicans would address national issues if they win a majority in the House this November, which prognosticators say is increasingly likely.
The GOP plan quickly ignited a debate within conservative circles, as establishment Republicans embraced the agenda but activists complained that it did not go far enough, while omitting some of their key demands, such as a balanced budget amendment.
Like the 1994 "Contract with America," released weeks before that year's midterm election swept Republicans to power, the 2010 pledge is expected to provide a campaign trail platform to make the case to voters that Republicans are ready to govern.
One of the few references to social issues is in an opening pledge "to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values."
The plan proposes beefing up border security to fight illegal immigration, another contentious issue that has energized the party's base but is only addressed in broad terms.
In one of the most significant signs of tea party influence, Republicans are proposing that any bill moving through Congress "include a clause citing the specific constitutional authority upon which the bill is justified." The party blames a "lack of respect" for constraints on government outlined in the Constitution for costly programs.