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Monday, September 20, 2010

House Republicans set to unveil agenda Thursday

House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) gestures as he addresses his weekly news conference with Capitol Hill reporters in Washington, March 19, 2010. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang

WASHINGTON | Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:28pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican leaders in the House of Representatives plan to announce their "governing agenda" on Thursday, just weeks before the November 2 congressional elections that they hope give them control of the chamber now held by President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats, aides said.

House Minority Leader John Boehner and fellow Republican leaders intend to unveil the agenda at a campaign-style event at a hardware store in Sterling, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, aides said.

The agenda will be narrowly focused on top priorities of voters, including creating jobs to cut the U.S. unemployment rate, currently 9.6 percent, and reducing government spending to stem the record federal deficit, a senior party aide said.

The aide said the agenda would also include some specific aims on healthcare and national security, but declined to elaborate.

A number of Republicans have vowed to try to repeal the overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system sought by Obama and passed by Congress this year. A repeal would be difficult, if not impossible, while Obama is president.

Obama could veto any legislation to rollback the overhaul. A two-thirds majority would be needed in both the House and Senate to override him.

The Republican Party has battled criticism from Democrats that it has become the "party of no" by rejecting Obama's agenda rather than bringing ideas to the table that would help reach a compromise.

Republicans reject such criticism, saying Americans disagree with Obama's agenda.

The governing agenda is reminiscent of "The Contract with America" that House Republicans ran on in 1994 to win control of the House during the second year of the Democrat Bill Clinton's presidency.

Unlike the Contract with America, however, House Republicans are not being asked to sign the agenda, which has not yet been given a formal name, aides said.

Boehner's office sent an e-mail to lawmakers on Monday, saying there will be a members-only meeting on Wednesday to discuss the agenda, a leadership aide said.

"At conference this Wednesday evening, leadership will be presenting a draft of the agenda -- the result of a months-long process of engagement with the American people as well as a series of open member meetings on the topic," the e-mail said.

The agenda is the result of an online initiative announced in May to hear suggestions and policy proposals directly from the American people.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro and Steve Holland; Editing by Will Dunham

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