House Republicans are planning a series of attention-grabbing hearings outside of Washington D.C. on a range of issues.
Republicans are sending subpoenas, planning trips to the southwest border, and encouraging committees to find fresh, TV-friendly settings for hearings that target Biden administration policies.
The Republicans want publicity on their hearings and overall on their stances on the issues.
In a 15-page, private playbook, the GOP calls for big publicity. The detailed guide for holding field hearings was assembled by the House Committee on Administration, which oversees the daily operations of the House and is led by Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.), an ally of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
The guide, distributed by the committee to all House Republicans, especially committee members, calls for maximum media coverage of hearings.
The GOP guide also encourages committees to launch targeted Facebook ads in and around the congressional districts they visit, send out post-hearing recaps, and distribute video clips of any “good member/witness exchange” to “boost as a post in that member’s district.”
House Republicans are making a show of the fact that they have little chance of getting bills signed by President Biden, experts said.
The media impact is especially highlighted. The GOP urges House committees to consider “embedding” local reporters from media companies that broadcast to multiple media markets across the nation.
Experts say it is notable that the House GOP playbook specifically singled out a particular outlet, the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is of the biggest TV station operators in the country.
“Committee field hearings provide a unique opportunity to go directly into communities across the nation and get out of D.C.,” the guide states. It describes planned hearings on energy, homeland security, and other issues as a way “every American can engage with Congress.”
Next up as a field hearing will be the southern border. House speaker McCarthy is heading to the border in Arizona with four freshman Republicans on Thursday to receive a briefing and aerial tour by border officials. It marks his first such trip since winning the speakership in January.
Committees planning hearings at the southwest border include Energy and Commerce, which is holding a session in McAllen, Texas, next week that will focus on how healthcare systems are impacted by the rise in migrants and fentanyl coming across the border.
Republicans often link the drug to migrants and asylum-seekers illegally crossing the border.
There have already been some field hearings this year. The Ways and Means Committee held a hearing in West Virginia last week to highlight economic struggles in Appalachia.