Newt Gingrich led a Republican salute to Saturday’s third anniversary of the GOP’s Contract With America, saying it proves “some politicians tell the truth and some elected officials keep their promises.”
“And frankly,” the House speaker said, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Gingrich noted in a GOP radio address that the political manifesto that figured in the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress was signed three years ago on the steps of the Capitol by 300 Republican congressional candidates.
“The American people demanded change. And we knew we could produce it,” Gingrich said.
Later at a news conference in his home district in Georgia, Gingrich called the 1995-96 Democratic presidential campaign the most “illegal and illegitimate” in U.S. history.
He said Democratic campaign fund-raising improprieties probably were the result of Democrats being surprised when Republicans took over Congress in 1994.
“They were so shocked that they believed if they obeyed the law and if they played fair they would lose,” Gingrich said. “They decided winning was worth the risk of breaking the law.”
Republican Party chief James Nicholson also marked the third anniversary of the Contract With America.
“The GOP presented the public with a plan for the future,” Nicholson said in a statement. “In contrast, congressional Democrats have chosen the use of divisive rhetoric in place of ideas.”
Gingrich boasted that critical parts of the contract have become law, including the $500-a-child tax credit, other major tax cuts and a balancedbudget plan that were part of the summer bipartisan budget accord.
“We promised to balance the budget and cut taxes, to make Congress live under the same laws as the rest of the country, to reform welfare and pass a line-item veto,” Gingrich said in the address, which he recorded in the Capitol on Friday.
“A Republican Congress even delivered a line-item veto to a Democratic president. They said it couldn’t be done,” he said.
Looking ahead, Gingrich said Republicans are committed to reform the tax code and to give tax breaks to parents with children in private schools. “And we’re working to eliminate waste, fraud and error, which undermine confidence in government,” he said.
Although much of the Contract With America has been enacted, some has passed in heavily modified forms and at least one major element - term limits for members of Congress - was rejected.
The 1994 document also called for a constitutional amendment to balance the budget, which Congress has twice rejected since then. The balanced-budget section of the summer budget accord is a statute, rather than an addition to the Constitution.