House Republicans Fight Back Against GOP Decline in Suburbs

New task forces pit 'pro-growth, pro-job' policies against far-left proposals

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November 20, 2019

House Republicans have launched task forces aimed at regaining the party's eroding support in the suburbs with new policies that directly cater to the needs of suburban voters.

Rep. Ann Wagner (R., Mo.), whose suburban St. Louis district narrowly elected her to a fourth term in 2018, is spearheading efforts by House Republicans to woo a previously reliable constituency. The task forces will operate as part of the recently launched "Suburban Caucus" chaired by Wagner. The Missouri Republican said she will make health care, school safety, and paid parental leave a centerpiece of the caucus's agenda to woo voters.

"We are dedicated to passing a suburban agenda that helps our children and grandchildren experience an America that will help them succeed, innovate, and become leaders in their own right," Wagner said.

The Wednesday announcement comes as Republicans struggle to attract suburban voters under President Donald Trump. In 2018, more than 80 suburban counties and cities voted more Democratic compared to 2016, a USA Today analysis showed.

Wagner rejected the idea that Republicans have ignored the suburbs in recent years, calling the "impression that Republicans only engage with rural voters" a "myth."

Though Wagner acknowledged the party's midterm losses, task force leaders expressed confidence in the GOP's ability to win back suburban voters. Republican leaders want to contrast their "pro-growth, pro-job" policies with new far-left proposals.

"The pro-growth, pro-job policies that we've been advancing are working," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.). "On the left right now, we see proposals like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. Those are the very policies that would really devastate middle income families, that would threaten our quality of life, our leadership in the world, and also our efforts to combat poverty."

Fellow task force chair Rep. French Hill (R., Ark.) echoed McMorris Rodgers, arguing that suburban voters are more concerned with kitchen table issues than the "political distractions" of the Trump impeachment inquiry.

"We know what our moms and dads are working on and thinking about in our districts," Hill said. "And it's easy to be caught up in the political distractions of Washington D.C., as we are today for many, or lose sight of how our policy work directly impacts Americans on a daily basis."