Republicans Gain Control of the Congress

Gingrich presenting the Contract With America

In the mid-term election, in November 1994, the Republicans gained control of both houses of Congress. Their major campaign theme was a document called the "Contract With America," whose major features called for balancing the budget and welfare reform.


During the 1994 Congressional Campaign, the Republican Candidate signed what was called a Contract with America. The Contract outlined the actions that they would take if they won the election and became the majority in the house..

The contract was divided into two parts, procedural and policy. Regarding procedures, the Contract called for the following:

1) Laws that apply to the country should apply to Congress
2) An independent audit firm will check the work of the Congress
3) Cut the number of Congressional committee by 1/3
4) Limit the terms of Committee chairs
5) Ban proxy votes in committees
6) All committee meetings should be public
7) Require a 3/5 majority to pass a tax increase
8) Implement zero based budgeting

They promised to take up the following legislation:
The Fiscal Responsibility Act- requiring a balanced budget- it never made it as a constitutional amendment, and as a law, it was ruled unconstitutional.

Taking Back Our Streets Act- Did not pass the Senate.

The Personal Responsibility Act- Various measures to discourage teen pregnancy- It passed in a modified way to become law

American Dream Restoration Act Created a $500 child credit- Did not pass the Senate

The National Security Restorations Act- To block US troops from serving under the UN and cut funding for the UN- Did not pass the Senate.

The Common Sense Legal Reforms Act- Limited product liability laws and punitive damages- A different version answered

Job Creation and Wage Enhancement: It ended up being four bills the only one which passed required federal money for state spending mandated by Congress.

Citizen Legislation Act- This would have imposed 12-year term limits on Congressmen. It did not pass

Family Reinforcement Act to increase incentives for adoption and give parents greater control of their children education

Senior Citizens Fairness Act - To raise the Social Security Earning limit and repeal tax hikes on Social Security Benefits.

While only a percentage of the contract was enacted in law, many consider its passage an essential element in the 1994 midterm elections, elections that saw the Republicans gaining control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 1953.