- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 11, 2008

House Republican leaders Wednesday will release details of a broad economic agenda that calls for streamlining the tax code, a spending limit proposal to curb federal spending and a plan to lower gas prices.

The plan is the second phase of a four-part campaign strategy that House Republican leaders hope will help their party recapture the chamber, which they lost to Democrats after the 2006 elections.

“Over the past 18 months, the American people have seen what the Democrats who run Congress have to offer: higher taxes, broken promises and skyrocketing gas prices,” said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. “This agenda is our response.”

The proposal is designed to lower gas prices by increasing domestic drilling of fossil fuels and natural gas, and calls for greater development of alternative fuels, including nuclear power.

The plan also calls for a two-tier flat tax system that can be filed on one page and an elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax, which was intended for only the wealthiest taxpayers but would hit millions of middle-class taxpayers without congressional action.

House Republican leaders also promise to balance the federal budget by 2012 without raising taxes, establishing a bipartisan panel to reform Congress’ spending habits, and an immediate moratorium on congressional earmarks - pet spending projects lawmakers insert into legislation.

Many of the agenda’s provisions are opposed by Democrats and have almost no chance of becoming law. But House Republicans hope the strategy will deflect criticism from Democrats, who blame Republican policies and President Bush for rising gas prices and other economic problems.