WASHINGTON – Resurgent Republicans rallied Sunday behind an agenda based on unwavering opposition to the Obama White House and federal spending, laying the groundwork for gridlock until their 2012 goal: a new president, a “better Senate” and ridding the country of that demonized health care law.
Republicans said they were willing to work with President Barack Obama but also signaled it would be only on their terms.
Voters on Tuesday punished Democrats from New Hampshire to California, giving Republicans at least 60 new seats in the House. Republicans picked up 10 governorships; the GOP also gained control of 19 state legislative chambers and now holds the highest level of state legislative seats since 1928.
“It was a very rough week; there’s no sugarcoating that,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Republicans have made clear they plan to work stridently against what they view as a White House out of control and out of touch.
“The president did say this week he’s willing to work with us,” said Rep. Eric Cantor, the Virginia Republican who is in line to become majority leader. “Now listen, are we willing to work with him? First and foremost, we’re not going to be willing to work with him on the expansive liberal agenda he’s been about.”
First target: Democrats’ signature health care law.
“This was a huge, huge issue in the election last Tuesday,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “A vast majority of Americans feel very, very uncomfortable with this new bill. People who supported us, political independents, want it repealed and replaced with something else. I think we owe it to them to try.”