New pledge from Republicans as US elections loom

New pledge from Republicans as US elections loom Sterling: Republican Party leaders gathered on Thursday at a lumber yard in Virginia to unveil a new strategy they hope will help wrest control of Congress from President Barack Obama's Democrats.

The "Pledge to America" echoes the 1994 effort centered around a "Contract with America," which propelled Republican gains at the time.

The details set to be unveiled amid slabs of plywood and sheets of two by four by the party leadership in the House of Representatives would tell voters how the Republicans plan to govern if they regain a majority.

According to media reports, the Republicans will pledge to "stop job-killing tax hikes" and cut government spending by repealing health care reforms and rolling back non-discretionary spending to 2008 levels, when Republican George W Bush was in the White House.

They also vow to reform Congress, get tough on sanctions on Iran, and beef up funding for the defence department, while saving USD 100 billion in the first year as they rein in spending, according to a copy of the manifesto reported in the US media.

But even before the Republicans had formally announced their vision for the way forward, the White House and leading Democrats were slamming the "Pledge to America" as backward-looking and harmful to middle class America.

"Instead of charting a new course, Congressional Republicans doubled down on the same ideas that hurt America's middle class," White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said.

"This is the same agenda that caused the deepest recession since the Great Depression... Instead of a pledge to the American people, Congressional Republicans made a pledge to the big special interests to restore the same economic ideas that benefited them at the expense of middle-class families," Pfeiffer said on the White House blog.

Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed the White House criticism, saying the Republican manifesto would return the United States "to the same failed economic policies that hurt millions of American and threatened our economy."

"Congressional Republicans are pledging to ship jobs overseas; blow a USD 700 billion hole in the deficit to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires; turn Social Security from a guaranteed benefit into a guaranteed gamble; once again, subject American families to the recklessness of Wall Street; and take away patients' rights," she said.