Here Are Some Of The Key Things Conservative Groups Want The 118th Congress To Prioritize

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The Daily Caller News Foundation – Kate Anderson on January 8, 2023

  • Conservative organizations told the Daily Caller News Foundation that they are hoping the newly elected GOP Congress will largely focus on federal oversight, the southern border and social issues during its term beginning in 2023. 
  • Some organizations hoped that Congress would push conservative legislation through while others appeared skeptical that any truly conservative legislation would pass through a Democratic Senate and White House. 
  • “We believe that the focus should almost singularly be investigations of the Biden administration and their allies outside of the government.” Thomas Jones, president and founder of the American Accountability Foundation, told the DCNF.

The 118th Congress should largely prioritize federal oversight while not losing sight of pushing key legislation on social issues and the southern border, conservative groups told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

A group of 20 GOP representatives initially refused to vote for Rep. Kevin McCarthy for speaker of the House, leading to over a dozen rounds of votes that culminated in McCarthy being elected to the office late Friday. Many conservative organizations who spoke with the DCNF conveyed their hope that the GOP would be able to achieve legislative victories during its term, while others were skeptical of this due to a Democratic Senate and White House

Federal oversight remained the common theme among most of the groups, with several mentioning the recent revelations within Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files.” The files revealed how the federal government worked with prominent tech companies to censor speech to further a particular narrative such as in the case of the Hunter Biden laptop article from the New York Post, according to multiple reports.

“We believe that the focus should almost singularly be investigations of the Biden administration and their allies outside of the government.” Thomas Jones, president and founder of the American Accountability Foundation, told the DCNF.

“The Twitter Files released by Elon Musk have provided a disturbing, if incomplete, picture of these anti-democratic activities, and Republicans must establish a January 6-style commission to get to the bottom of this and determine what actions must be taken to ensure it never happens again,” Terry Schilling, the president of the American Principles Project, told the DCNF.

Multiple groups expressed confidence in the House Judiciary Committee with Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan at the helm.

Dan Schneider, vice president of Free Speech America and MRC Business, however, told the DCNF that while oversight was extremely important, Congress cannot use it as an excuse to not push conservative legislation.

“The House must not use oversight hearings as an excuse for not doing the important legislative work that must be done,” Schneider stated. “We need to have oversight for things like the Hunter Biden laptop story, Big Tech censorship and manipulation of data but those hearings must be a means to an end not an end of itself.”

Jones felt that the GOP would be fighting a losing battle if they focused on legislation since the Senate and the White House are controlled by Democrats.

“As conservatives, we don’t think there is any likelihood that there will be any meaningful conservative legislation with the Democrats controlling the Senate and the White House,” Jones explained. “So the question is what should Congress do with its limited time.”

Arthur Milikh, executive director of the Claremont Center for the American Way of Life, echoed Jones’ statement, saying that even if Republicans had won back the Senate during the midterm elections the country is “not in a legislative moment right now.”

The southern border was also mentioned several times as a necessary priority for the 118th Congress. Border Patrol made over 222,000 apprehensions in December alone, a record when compared to previous years over the same period.

Mike Howell, director of Heritage’s Oversight Project and former Department of Homeland Security counsel, noted that whole representative districts had been added to states due to the record number of illegal immigrants coming across the southern border and called it an “existential” “national security threat to the United States.”

“The first thing [Biden administration] did when they came in was undo our border and there is a reason why they did it first,” Howell said. “We have taken in, undoubtedly, a massive criminal element into this country at a time when the cartel agents are firing on border patrol agents and we’ve just lost control of the southern border to the cartels.”

President Joe Biden visited the southern border Sunday — the first time since 2008. Howell said Biden’s announcement likely put border patrol agents on edge and that the “political timing” was not “lost” on him.

The Alliance for Defending Freedom (ADF) expressed similar hopes that Congress would focus on the ongoing social battles regarding abortion, transgender athletes and religious liberty.

Lawmakers and the Biden Administration have made attempts to push pro-abortion legislation and laws that would allow transgender female athletes to compete against biological female athletes, as a result, ADF is calling on the House to push better legislation forward.

Milikh explained that he felt the GOP has a “desire” to be effective in the issues the American people cared about but that it will depend on who is elected speaker.

“There’s a lot of anger, legitimate anger, in the American public, in the Republican base, over these issues,” Milikh said.

McCarthy did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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