Good evening, all. Back on September 27, 1994, Newt Gingrich publicly announced a Republican Party Contract with America. What did that mean back then? The Contract with America was a legislative agenda advocated for by the Republican Party during the 1994 congressional election campaign. Written by Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey, and in part using text from former President Ronald Reagan's 1985 State of the Union Address, the Contract detailed the actions the Republicans promised to take if they became the majority party in the United States House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. Many of the Contract's policy ideas originated at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

The Contract with America was introduced six weeks before the 1994 Congressional election, the first midterm election of President Bill Clinton's administration, and was signed by all but two of the Republican members of the House and all of the Party's non-incumbent Republican congressional candidates. The contract described the plan of the Congressional Representatives, seeking to nationalize the Congressional election. Its provisions represented the view of many conservative Republicans on the issues of reducing the size of government, cutting taxes, and both tort reform and welfare reform.

The 1994 elections resulted in Republicans gaining 54 House and 9 U.S. Senate seats, flipping both chambers. The Contract was seen as a triumph by party leaders such as Minority Whip Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, and the American conservative movement in general.

Contract with America 1994:
The Contract would address Government and Operational reforms
On the first day of their majority in the House, the Republicans promised to bring up for a vote, eight major reforms:
1. Require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply to Congress;
2. Select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud, or abuse;
3. Cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;
4. Limit the terms of all committee chairs;
5. Ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;
6. Require committee meetings to be open to the public;
7. Require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;
8. Guarantee an honest accounting of the Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.

The Contract implementations: The Fiscal Responsibility Act

An amendment to the Constitution that would require a balanced budget unless sanctioned by a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress {this passed by the US House Roll Call: 300-132, January 26, 1995, but rejected by the US Senate: Roll Call 65–35 (the amendment was defeated by a single vote, with one Republican opposed, Oregon Republican Senator Mark Hatfield; Dole cast a procedural vote against the amendment to bring it up again in the future. In short, it did not pass.

The Taking Back Our Streets Act:

An anti-crime package included stronger truth in sentencing, and "good faith" exclusionary rule exemptions (H.R.666 Exclusionary Rule Reform Act, passed US House Roll Call 289–142 February 8, 1995).

The Personal Responsibility Act:

An act to discourage illegitimacy and teen pregnancy by reforming and cutting cash welfare and related programs. This would be achieved by prohibiting welfare to mothers under 18 years of age, denying increased Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) for additional children while on welfare, and enacting a two-years-and-out provision with work requirements to promote individual responsibility. H.R.4, passed by the US House 234–199, March 23, 1995, and passed by the US Senate 87–12, September 19, 1995. The Act was vetoed by President Clinton, but the alternative Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act which offered many of the same policies were enacted on August 22, 1996.

The American Dream Restoration Act:

An act to create a $500-per-child tax credit, add a tax credit for couples who pay more taxes in aggregate if they are married than if they were single (but keep in place the fiction of Earned Income Splitting), and the creation of American Dream Savings Accounts to provide middle-class tax relief. H.R.1215, passed 246–188, April 5, 1995.

The National Security Restoration Act:

An act to prevent U.S. troops from serving under United Nations command unless the president determines it is necessary for national security, to cut U.S. payments for UN peacekeeping operations, and to help establish guidelines for the voluntary integration of former Warsaw Pact nations into NATO. H.R.7, passed 241–181, February 16, 1995.

The Common-Sense Legal Reform Act:

An act to institute "loser pays" laws (H.R.988, passed 232–193, March 7, 1995), limits on punitive damages, and weakening of product-liability laws to prevent what the bill considered frivolous litigation (H.R.956, passed 265–161, March 10, 1995; passed Senate 61–37, May 11, 1995, vetoed by President Clinton. "H.R.956 - Product Liability Fairness Act of 1995". Another tort reform bill, the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, was enacted in 1995 when Congress overrode Clinton's veto.

The Job Creation and Wage Enhancement Act:

A package of measures to act as small-business incentives: capital-gains cuts and indexation, neutral cost recovery, risk assessment/cost-benefit analysis, strengthening of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, and unfunded mandate reform to create jobs and raise worker wages. Although this was listed as a single bill in the Contract, its provisions ultimately made it to the House Floor as four bills:
• H.R.5, requiring federal funding for state spending mandated by Congressional action and estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to cost more than $50m per year (for the years 1996–2002), was passed 360–74, February 1, 1995. This bill was conferenced with S. 1 and enacted, on March 22, 1995 "S.1 - Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995".
• H.R.450 required a moratorium on the implementation of federal regulations until June 30, 1995, and was passed 276–146, on February 24, 1995. Companion Senate bill S. 219 passed by voice vote, on May 17, 1995, but the two bills never emerged from the conference "S.219 - Regulatory Transition Act of 1995".
• H.R.925 required federal compensation to be paid to property owners when federal government actions reduced the value of the property by 20% or more and were passed 277–148, March 3, 1995.
• H.R.926, passed 415–14 on March 1, 1995, required federal agencies to provide a cost-benefit analysis on any regulation costing $50m or more annually, to be signed off on by the Office of Management and Budget, and permitted small businesses to sue that agency if they believed the aforementioned analysis was performed inadequately or incorrectly.

The Citizen Legislature Act:

An amendment to the Constitution that would have imposed 12-year term limits on members of the US Congress (i.e., six terms for Representatives, two terms for Senators). H.J.Res. 73 was rejected by the U.S. House 227–204 (a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority, not a simple majority), on March 29, 1995.

Other sections:

Other sections of the contract include a proposed Family Reinforcement Act (tax incentives for adoption, strengthening the powers of parents in their children's education, stronger child pornography laws, and elderly dependent care tax credit) and the Senior Citizens Fairness Act (raise the Social Security earnings limit, repeal the 1993 tax hikes on Social Security benefits and provide tax incentives for private long-term care insurance).


Some observers cite the Contract with America as having helped secure a decisive victory for the Republicans in the 1994 elections; others dispute this role, noting its late introduction into the campaign. Whatever the role of the Contract, Republicans were elected to a majority of both houses of Congress for the first time since 1953, and some parts of the Contract were enacted. Most elements did not pass in Congress, while others were vetoed by, or substantially altered in negotiations with President Bill Clinton, who would sarcastically refer to it as the "Contract on America" implying that the Republicans' legislative package was akin to an organized crime "hit" on the American public. As a blueprint for the policy of the new Congressional majority, Micklethwait and Wooldridge argue in The Right Nation that the Contract placed Congress firmly back in the driver's seat of domestic government policy for most of the 104th Congress, and placed the Clinton White House firmly on the defensive.
Not all of the contract’s objectives were achieved, including congressional term limits and a constitutional amendment to force balanced budgets, but those that did were astoundingly successful.

While Democrats screamed like scalded dogs and promoted doomsday scenarios, President Bill Clinton correctly gauged the mood of the country, declaring that “the era of big government is over.” If only.
The Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform bill was a major achievement of the contract. The left claimed poor people would starve. They didn’t. Most of the able-bodied among them found jobs, which benefited them and the country.
Taxes were cut and in 1998 the federal budget was balanced and stayed balanced through 2001. Hard as it is to believe with today’s $30 trillion-dollar debt, the country experienced a surplus of $236 billion in 2000.

Economic growth was 4% or higher from 1997 through 2000 and unemployment rates, which had been above 7% at the beginning of the decade, fell to less than 5% in 1997. By the end of 2000, unemployment was under 4%.
For three straight years - from 1997 through 1999 - the economy produced more than 3 million jobs, a record.
It is undeniable that the contract worked.

Commitment to America 2022:

Recently Kevin McCarthy Minority Republican Leader of the house reinvented the same Contract with America again.
The new list of Republican goals will work, too, if they are implemented, because they are rooted in the history of what has worked before - lower taxes, less spending, personal responsibility, and accountability, empowering parents, not teachers' unions.

President Joe Biden is no Bill Clinton. The Democratic Party has been taken over by the hard left and they are not about to compromise on anything, from social issues to “climate change.”
Only if Republicans win the Congress and the White House does the GOP “Commitment to America” have a chance to fully succeed. As in 1994, the party has the issues on its side — from previously mentioned inflation and a declining stock market that is hurting the savings of retirees to an uncontrolled border, violent crime, and a cultural fabric that seems to many conservatives to be coming apart.

If Republicans can’t win on these issues, they can expect and deserve to be committed by voters to years of irrelevancy.

Final Thoughts:

Here is my problem with all of this. Both Republican Parties during 1994 and 2022 are required by the Constitution to protect and serve the people of the United States. So, when I think about the Republicans committing to a contract, I think of this critically because currently during the Biden Administration, we’ve seen Republicans like Liz Chaney R-WY, Peter Meijer R-MI, Jaime Herrera Beutler R-DC, Adam Kizinger R-IL, Anthony Gonzalez R-OH, Dan Newhouse R-DC, David Valadao R-CA, John Katko R-NY, Fred Upton R-MI, and Tom Rice R-SC all voting to impeach former President Donald J. Trump.
So, it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth when Republicans rally behind a contract that has no meaning unless they're committing themselves to support the Constitution, which they have sworn to uphold. To me, the Commitment to America is more for a show, even if the last contract had some success, but it may just be a distraction to vote for the Republicans. This is why we need to look at which Republicans have demonstrated support for We the People and The Constitution – this is my litmus test. What will be yours?