After months of being bashed for having no agenda, other than attacking Democrats, Republican leaders are gearing up to unveil a detailed "governing document" of their own.
While it's drawing comparisons to 1994's "Contract with America," sources say this new document is very different. There will be no grand unveiling on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, with scores of lawmakers and candidates signing on the dotted line. Instead, the new plan will be rolled out at a suburban Virginia lumber yard just outside Washington.
Themes are expected to include: job creation, cutting government spending and repealing or counteracting recent health care legislation. That's welcome news to the man who is the president of Tart Lumber Company, Craig Fritsche. Come Thursday, he's hoping to hear GOP leaders say that they plan to push to extend Bush-era tax cuts - for all income levels.
"We don't need to be hit during this recession with a tax increase," Fritsche says, adding, "You could say it's just an expiration of the tax cuts, but it's a tax increase."
Along with financial priorities, many within the party want to be sure social issues have a place on the agenda. Speaking at last weekend's Values Voter Summit, Congressman Mike Pence (R-Ind.), who won the event's straw poll for attendees' 2012 presidential pick, said, ""We must not remain silent when great moral battles are being waged." He continued, "Those who would have us ignore the battle being fought over life, marriage and religious liberty, have forgotten the lessons of history." Congressman Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.), who says he's been involved in discussions about the new document, reports that social issues will be included in the final draft.
The GOP is expected to outline roughly 20 items, most of them legislative in nature. Others will be aimed at how Congress itself operates: forcing authors of bills to articulate their constitutionality and a mandatory 72-hour reading period for House members before any bill goes to the floor for a vote.
Bradley Blakeman, a Republican strategist, says it's time to get back to basics, "What makes us a party, our core beliefs, where we've strayed and what do we have to concentrate on to win."