WASHINGTON -- As they battle to regain control in the House, Republican congressmen Tuesday unveiled what they're calling the Republican Commitment to America, a set of promises they've made as election day nears.
U.S. Rep. French Hill of Little Rock and U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs stood with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and dozens of other Republican congressmen on the steps of the House during the formal announcement.
"Americans are fed up with politicians who say one thing and do another. Instead of empty rhetoric, they deserve results," McCarthy said.
The Commitment to America vows to "restore our way of life," "rebuild the greatest economy in history" and "renew the American dream."
Among other things, the Republican plan calls for "tripling rapid COVID testing and developing a vaccine that is safe, effective, and available this year."
Election Day is Nov. 3. If Republicans retake control, they would be sworn in on Jan. 3.
The plans highlighted by Republican lawmakers call for:
• "Launching a five-year plan to fix our roads, bridges, and airports, while cutting the permitting process time in half." The amount of money to be spent was not specified.
• Extending high-speed internet capabilities to every household.
mProviding $200 billion in additional forgivable loans to American businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program.
• Creating 10 million jobs.
• Increasing funding for law enforcement by $1.75 billion.
• Extending or making permanent some existing tax breaks while working with President Donald Trump "to provide additional tax relief to hardworking Americans." The plans didn't state how large the additional tax cuts would be.
• Allowing parents to send their children to the school of their choice.
The plan didn't explain how Republicans plan to pay for the increased spending or make up for any decrease in revenue.
Democrats, McCarthy warned, will support violent protests, defund the police, "dismantle our institutions," "destroy our economy" and add trillions of dollars in new taxes.
With Republicans in control, "we will reunite this country once and for all," he added.
McCarthy and his allies would need to win 17 seats in order to dislodge Democrats from House leadership.
A spokeswoman for Westerman said he hopes to see that happen.
"He's strongly in favor of this new initiative and looks forward to getting Republicans back in the majority in the House in November," she said.
Tuesday's event showcased "some of our principal commitments that we're making to the American people should the Republicans take the House back," Hill said in an interview.
While supporters summed up the agenda in a one-page document, Hill said Republican members are offering "150 different policy proposals."
The plan calls for ending U.S. reliance on China for medication, medical equipment and key technology, he noted.
In March, Hill introduced legislation, called the Securing America's Vaccines for Emergencies (SAVE) Act, that sought to do just that.
Hill also expressed support for the school choice commitment.
Rather than mandating access, Republicans would work with state and local governments to achieve their goal, Hill said.
"Whatever we could do to encourage public charter schools like we have in Little Rock, we would try to do that with financial incentives," he said.
House Democrats have been ineffectual thus far, Hill said.
"They have nothing to show for their 18 months of leadership" and have demonstrated "an inability to get anything done on a bipartisan basis that can support and help the American people," he said.
With strong leadership and good ideas, Republicans will be able to accomplish more for the American people, Hill said.
"In my view, these [proposals] will attract strong bipartisan support in the next Congress. We are happy to work with our [Democratic] colleagues as we did under [House Speakers] Paul Ryan and under John Boehner," he said. Ryan and Boehner are Republicans.
Hill's election opponent, state Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, was unavailable to discuss the Commitment to America, a spokesman said.
But in a written statement, she questioned the incumbent's devotion to average citizens.
"French Hill has made it clear that his commitment is to America's biggest corporations and special interests, leaving working people and small businesses to pay the price. Arkansans deserve better in Washington," she said.