- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2022

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Newt Gingrich and Condoleezza Rice will address House Republicans who are eager to show a united front at a Florida retreat where they plan to hone their legislative agenda.

The lawmakers are expected to be upbeat with the GOP poised to take over the majority in the House and possibly the Senate in November. Polls show voters have soured on President Biden and rejected a Democratic agenda that has veered to the far left while doing little to revive the economy, reduce inflation or calm rising gasoline prices.

Mr. Gingrich, who served as House Speaker from 1995-1999, will address House GOP lawmakers at TPC Sawgrass golf resort in Ponte Vedra, where Republicans will meet beginning Wednesday. 

For several months, Mr. Gingrich has been working with Republican leaders behind the scenes to help shape an agenda ahead of the midterms.

Ms. Rice, who served as national security adviser and then secretary of state under President George W. Bush, will address lawmakers remotely on issues relating to Russia’s war with Ukraine, GOP aides said.

House Republicans are eager for a show of unity at the event. A year ago, their retreat in Orlando was disrupted by a small group of Republicans eager to distance the party from former President Donald Trump, who had lost the election and was impeached a second time just a few months earlier. 

Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who was GOP conference chair at the time, told reporters at the event that Mr. Trump was no longer the head of the Republican Party, angering other GOP leaders and Republican lawmakers.

She was ousted from her leadership position several months later and is now helping Democrats investigate the former president and other Republicans over their role in instigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

Ms. Cheney’s successor as conference chair, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, said the schism is all in the past, although Republicans would not say whether either Ms. Cheney or Mr. Trump is attending the event this week. 

“Over the last year, House Republicans have been unified in prosecuting the case against the failed far-left Democrats’ agenda which has led to crisis after crisis hurting hard-working Americans,” Mrs. Stefanik told The Washington Times. “It has never been more crucial for House Republicans to remain unified so we can fire lame-duck speaker Nancy Pelosi once and for all and put forward solutions to provide a much-needed check on Biden’s reckless administration.”

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, wants the GOP to rally behind a legislative agenda and has assigned top Republicans on each House committee to draft proposals for the next Congress, when they will control the gavel on those panels if the GOP wins back the majority in November.

The Judiciary Committee, which under GOP control would be headed by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, would focus on more than a dozen key issues, according to a draft obtained by the Times. An examination of Big Tech censorship leads the list, which also includes an examination of COVID-19 government mandates and lockdowns, enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws related to the massive surge at the border and “the threat posed by left-wing violence in American cities.”

House Democrats control the chamber by just a handful of seats. They are defending more than a dozen members in “toss-up” races and a half-dozen seats in GOP-leaning territory.

• Susan Ferrechio can be reached at sferrechio@washingtontimes.com.

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