So far in 2013, Washington has been dominated by two story lines: 1) the ongoing budget battles (fiscal cliff, debt limit, sequestration, continuing resolution, etc.); and 2) President Obama’s 2nd term agenda (gun control, amnesty, and energy taxes). In both cases House Republicans are constantly cast as the party of ‘no’. ‘No’ to tax hikes, ‘no’ to new spending, ‘no’ to everything on Obama’s agenda.

Today, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will try and change that dynamic with a speech at the American Enterprise Institute titled, “Making Life Work,” where he will say:

Lately, it has become all too common in our country to hear parents fear whether their children will indeed have it better than they. And for all of us parents, that is a scary thought. Our goal should be to eliminate the doubt gripping our nation’s families, and to restore their hope and confidence in being able to protect tomorrow for their children.

Policy-wise, Cantor will highlight Republican efforts on five issues: education, health care, immigration, job training, and tax reform. But don’t expect Cantor’s speech to break any new policy ground. He does not want to get ahead of his conference or the committee chairman that will be working to produce legislation on each of these issues through regular order. For example, on immigration, Cantor will back STEM visa reform that would grant green cards to foreign students who graduate from U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math. The House already passed a bill similar to this proposal last year and will almost surely include it in whatever immigration plan is released next week.

The purpose of Cantor’s speech is to remind Americans that Republican conservative principles can be applied to issues beyond a balance sheet. “We will advance proposals aimed at producing results in areas like education, health care, innovation, and job growth,” Cantor will say. “Our solutions will be based on the conservative principles of self reliance, faith in the individual, trust in the family, and accountability in government. Our goal – to ensure every American has a fair shot at earning their success and achieving their dreams.”

The nation’s unemployment rate rose last month and the U.S. economy shrank last quarter. While Obama is out talking tax hikes, gun control, and a slew of other non-economic issues, Cantor sees a chance to show that Republicans are the only party concerned about America’s floundering economic recovery. If the rest of the House can stay on message it might work.

From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Antiquated pension plans weigh down U.S. companies
Byron York: Legalization-first could scuttle immigration plan
Phil Klein: Kasich’s cave on Obamacare shows how hard it is to beat big government
Sean Higgins: In Las Vegas, teachers trusting their union are taking a gamble
Tim Carney: Saturday mail delivery is corporate welfare for Hallmark

In Other News
The Wall Street Journal, Party Eyes ‘Red-State Model’ to Drive Republican Revival: Bruised by the continuing budget battles in Washington, where divided government has led to near-gridlock, top Republicans nationally are holding up Kansas and other GOP-dominated states as examples of what the party might accomplish if left to its own devices.
The New York Times, Waiting Times at Ballot Boxes Draw Scrutiny: With studies suggesting that long lines at the polls cost Democrats hundreds of thousands of votes in November, party leaders are beginning a push to make voting and voter registration easier, setting up a likely new conflict with Republicans over a deeply polarizing issue.
The Washington Post, Justice prepares civil suit against S&P over grading of financial products before crisis: The Justice Department is preparing to file a civil lawsuit against the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s that will allege the company gave its seal of approval to toxic investments at the heart of the financial crisis.
MSNBC, Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans: A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.
CNN, Texas to California businesses: Move here!: Texas Governor Rick Perry has launched a high-profile battle for California companies, running radio ads in California touting the Lone Star State’s low taxes and favorable business climate. The ads will be heard in San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego and the Inland Empire area east of Los Angeles.

Lefty Playbook
Rick Perlstein on Why a Permanent Democratic Majority Is Not a Demographic Inevitability
Jonathan Cohn discovers that Obamacare is not as universal as Obama claimed.
Think Progress attacks eight Senators who are planning to vote against the Violence Against Women Act.

Righty Playbook
Liz Mair on what is really wrong with the GOP.
Ramesh Ponnuru on Karl Rove’s new COnservative Victory Project.
Mark Perry on America’s job-creating energy miracle.