Capitol Hill Bureau Chief
With their sweeping victories now behind them, the Republican leaders of the House and Senate said Wednesday that the midterm elections were nothing short of a repudiation of President Obama and his policies. Although the GOP leaders said they would be willing to work with the administration in the future, they said they would do so only "if the president comes in our direction."
Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, made it clear that the GOP senators will not look for compromise for the sake of appeasing Obama. "We're determined to stop the agenda Americans have rejected and to turn the ship around," McConnell said. "What our friends on the other side learned is that choosing the president over your constituents is not a good strategy."
House Minority Leader John Boehner, who will likely become the next House speaker, called the elections a referendum on the president and his priorities, which the American people rejected. "The real question now is are we going to listen to the American people?" Boehner said.
At the top of the GOP's to do list with the new House majority will be cutting federal spending, creating jobs, and repealing and replacing the health care law that Democrats passed this year, which Boehner warned will "kill jobs in America, ruin the best health care system in the world and bankrupt our country."
McConnell said that if the president is willing to "come in our direction," Republicans will be happy to work with him. But he warned that change is coming to Washington, and it won't be GOP senators and House members changing their ways.
"Our friends on the other side can change now and work with us to address the issues that are important to the American people that we all understood," McConnell said. "Or further change can happen in 2012."