House Republicans haven't officially locked down their majority for next year, but they're already sketching out a legislative agenda for when they do.
In a memo to lawmakers on Wednesday, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the party would target the federal bureaucracy with an eye toward restoring "competence" across a range of scandal-plagued departments and agencies. He cited the well-documented problems at the Veterans Administration, the Secret Service, the IRS, last year's launch of the federal health insurance exchanges, and the more recent response to Ebola, along with several other missteps that haven't garnered as much attention.
"Every week seems to bring a new revelation of government agencies failing to accomplish their core functions," McCarthy wrote.
Republicans are widely expected to expand their hold on the House in November, and they seem likely to take the Senate as well. The agenda McCarthy laid out, however, is fairly modest in scope, and probably not exhaustive; there are no new promises to repeal Obamacare, gut the EPA, or overhaul entitlement programs. Those may still be on the way, particularly if Republicans succeed in winning control of the Senate.
Yet McCarthy's plan to focus on competency dovetails with the party's campaign-trail arguments that the Obama administration lacks basic management skills. It also comports with the GOP's broader goal of reducing the size of the federal bureaucracy.