Republicans captured control of the U.S. House in 2010 by winning a dramatic 63 Democratic seats – but the man charged with keeping that GOP majority firmly predicts it will get even bigger this election year.
"I can tell you that Republicans are not only going to hold the majority, we're going to add seats because of the ideas that Republicans stand for about job growth in America," Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told WND's Greg Corombos in a radio interview.
He said he expects the GOP to add another five to seven seats when the dust settles in November.
Since the Republican Party has faced resignations in recent weeks from Reps. Geoff Davis of Kentucky, Steve LaTourette of Ohio and Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, Sessions said he is confident the party will overcome those challenges.
"As a result of redistricting, as a result of people wanting to run for other offices, as a result of people retiring, the challenges are there in front of us," he said. "I believe the National Republican Congressional Committee has worked hard to put us in a position to where we are able to replace not only these candidates who have made a decision not to re-run, but, perhaps more importantly, we have a bench of people who look forward to serving in Congress, who are pro-business, who are interested in us growing our economy and, best of all, want to come serve with John Boehner as our speaker."
Sessions also said favorable redistricting in states like North Carolina and Texas and open seats in Oklahoma and Arkansas will help the party.
"North Carolina and Texas offer us an opportunity to add not only a number of seats but really to put our strengthened hold on those states as conservative bastions for the Republican Party of our future," he told WND. "The same is true of Oklahoma … and also in Arkansas. There will be a number of places where Republican strength materializes itself across the South to make sure that it is conservatives that represent those places and that we hold the majority with it."
Conversely, Sessions worries that newly drawn districts in Illinois and California will make life difficult for Republicans.
"What keeps me up at night certainly is Illinois and California," he said. "There are electorates there that are on the ballot – one of them is the president; his home state is Illinois. And California, one has to wonder what California has in its mind as they often elect people, who are really all for a straightforward viewpoint to bankruptcy.
"Republicans in the states of California and Illinois, however, have demonstrated that they have really great candidates, candidates who are not just on our ballot but those who have served for some time. And there's a strong distinction between taxers and spenders and Republicans who support not just free enterprise, but job growth and small business. …
"Yes, I do recognize that these will be areas where we're going to have to sell the bite a little bit differently. That means we're going to ask people who traditionally might be voting for President Obama to support also their member of Congress as the person who would offer a counter-balance."
Regarding the presidential race, he admitted that a convincing win by either party at the presidential level would have an impact down the ballot.
"A four- or five-point victory would be enough in any state to influence not just a senatorial or gubernatorial race, but it could impact members of Congress," he said. "We see, right now, that it will be a very, very tight race in certain states and in certain areas.
"With that said, we believe that Gov. Romney, as a result of his decision to pick Paul Ryan, has made a determination that there will be adult conversations that Republicans will challenge those coming to the polls to say, we think we ought to be looking ahead. We ought to look at the direction in which our country is headed. If we do that, we think we stand a great chance to sell a Republican message of job growth, stopping the spending and go back to a model of job creation – which is critical to any future if we expect to sustain Social Security and Medicare."
Sessions said tough spending cuts will come because "the medicine is necessary to save the patient" and entitlements must be addressed.
"We're headed to where a bankruptcy of a system means that all services would be lost," he said. "What we're talking about is common-sense principles. It's very simple. The Democrats, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats and Senate Democrats took $700 billion away from senior health care that beneficiaries need today. That has put us on a trajectory directly to bankruptcy.
"So Republicans proposed – and it directly is part of what is called the Ryan plan – to deal with the $700 billion being taken out. And the first thing we'd do is add it back in. We would repeal Obamacare, thus bringing the $700 billion back into the system, and then we would look at seniors, or those that are 55 and above today, and say to them, 'We're going to keep you in the same or similar Social Security that we understand today. But for those who are 54 and below, we would offer you a plan that would look very much like health care options that are given to federal government employees who are regular employees, meaning there would be basic coverage all the way to one that's participatory, where an employee could pay far more money into the system.
"All of these options that are laid out in front of us by Republicans mean that we not only strengthen and save the system, but we give the patient and the doctor the right and the ability to work together for what's in the best interest of that patient."
Sessions rejected the Democratic assertion that House Republicans are obstructing the Obama economic agenda, noting that Senate Democrats won't even back Obama's plans and nonpartisan economists believe the president's plan would grow the national debt yet again.
He also vowed House Republicans will have a much more responsible approach to spending than they did from 2001-2007.
"I think it's important to note that Republicans for many, many years aimed for and effectively balanced the budget of the United States, created a surplus, had unlimited opportunity with the creation of 60-plus months worth of jobs," he said. "That is the same and similar type of pro-business mentality and effectiveness that Republicans will be having again. It's our policy. It's what we believe in.
"And it is true that we always have to be careful with spending what we have, but we aim, once again, for balancing the budget. That is what we're aiming for. If we're going to do that, we have to stop Obamacare, we must defeat the president and we must recognize that having the House and Senate will be necessary to that success."
Sessions reaffirmed his prediction of a major GOP victory this election year:
"I believe we're going to net pick up between five to seven seats across the country as a result of our great work that we did with redistricting. … Five to seven seats added to Republicans: I am predicting it."