House GOP spotlights economic agenda amid gridlock in DC

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BALTIMORE (Gray DC) -- It’s day two of the House GOP retreat in Baltimore, where Vice President Mike Pence urged fellow Republicans to win back the majority in 2020.

Vice President Mike Pence and House GOP Whip Steve Scalise warmly greet each other at annual Republican retreat in Baltimore. (Source: CNN)

But as our Washington Correspondent Alana Austin reports – there are many critical policy issues they’re struggling to push forward with Democrats in charge.

In Baltimore, House Republicans are praising their agenda on issues like taxes and trade. But they face many challenges advancing their policies with Democrats in charge.

“Just 416 days from when we elect a Republican majority," said the Vice President.

Pence is firing up the House GOP conference, as members set their sights on regaining control in 2020. Top House Republican leader, Congressman Steve Scalise, says he thinks their goal is within reach.

“The ultimate objective we have is to focus on those seats that we lost last year, especially the 31 seats that Donald Trump won in 2016 that we lost last year," said Scalise. "We’re going to get those seats back and we’re going to get the majority back.”

The crux of the Republican pitch is to say the economy is thriving under the pro-business policies of President Donald Trump – and the tax cuts of the last Republican-controlled Congress.

The GOP’s corporate tax cuts are expected to remain in place for now, but the individual tax breaks are on track to expire in 2025. Republican leaders at the retreat say they want to make those cuts permanent, but that’s unlikely with a gridlocked, divided government.

“We’re the hottest economy in the world, and we want to make those tax cuts permanent," said Scalise. "I’d like to see Speaker Pelosi bring that to the floor."

In a statement to Gray Television, a spokesman for Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi says, “There aren’t any talks now. House Democrats are reviewing the whole mess of problems created by a GOP tax scam.”

Saturday is the last day of the retreat. Republicans will then see if their renewed game plan is effective.

Lawmakers are set to head back to DC next week to resume their regular work.

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