Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, chairman of the committee charged with putting Republicans back in control of the U.S. House of Representatives, told reporters Tuesday that the 2010 midterm elections were going to be all about President Obama’s agenda before the Democratic Congress.
Sessions said that agenda, which included the biggest health reform law since the creation of Medicare and the most comprehensive financial sector reform since the Great Depression, was not creating jobs for the American people and was instead growing wasteful government.
“This is a referendum on who is holding up and supporting that agenda,” Sessions said.
In a briefing with reporters, Sessions and National Republican Campaign Committee Deputy Chairman Oregon Rep. Greg Walden argued that momentum was on their side. They reported their committee raised $9 million in June 2010 and has $17 million to spend on the approximately 60 House seats controlled by Democrats that could go either way in November. Republicans need to win 39 seats to unseat the Democrats from the majority.
The NRCC’s Democratic counterpart has a significant cash advantage with $9 million raised in June and $33.78 million cash on hand to defend those seats.
With unemployment at 9.5 percent nationally, both parties are trying to convince voters that they are the party that can create jobs.
While Sessions and Walden tried to paint the election as a referendum on President Obama, who according to Gallup’s latest tracking poll has a 47 percent approval and 45 percent disapproval rating, Democrats are trying to connect policies Republicans are now backing as similar to those of former President George W. Bush.
The Democratic National Committee Tuesday released a statement pointing out that in his Sunday appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sessions said that Congress should focus on the agenda laid out by a group called the Business Roundtable, which includes the CEOs of some of America’s largest companies.
“Despite all the hardship and suffering caused by the 2008 financial crisis and despite all the progress we’ve made to rebuild our economy, begin to put Americans back to work and enact new rules to ensure that we are never again faced with economic calamity caused by Wall Street’s mismanagement and greed, Republicans are calling for a return to the very same Bush policies that caused the financial meltdown and cost millions of Americans their jobs,” DNC national press secretary Hari Sevugan said in a statement.
Sessions, in a response to a question about what the Republican policy alternatives are to the Obama agenda, pointed out that Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America that was part of the successful Republican takeover of the House in 1994, didn’t emerge until September of that year.
Sessions also announced that he would join Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party caucus.
“This movement is sincere, it is serious and they are interested in an agenda that would be about the American people instead of about us being internationalists,” Sessions said.