Summit Notebook

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Gregg sees Republican victory in November as keeping Obama in check

September 22, 2010

SUMMIT-WASHINGTON/GREGGIf Republicans are able to capture either chamber of the U.S. Congress in the November election, they will use that power to try to block any further expansion of the federal government by the Obama administration, Republican Senator Judd Gregg said on Wednesday.

“I think clearly going into the next Congress, if you have one or the other houses controlled by the Republican party, you’re going to have much more financial discipline, there’s no question of that,” Gregg, who is from New Hampshire and is retiring after the election, told the Reuters Washington Summit.

Republicans lost control of both the House and Senate in the last two election cycles, in part because they strayed from their position of holding the line on federal spending during the Bush administration. As the economy slowly recovers from the worst recession in decades, the deficit and the mounting debt have become major themes in the 2010 congressional elections.

“We won’t be able to set the agenda in the sense that the president sets the agenda, but we will at least be able to control the expansiveness of the government and slow the rate of growth and start to raise the issues that are important for being fiscally disciplined,” Gregg said, noting that “we can’t overpromise because we don’t control the presidency.”

He said that New Hampshire voters chose Democrats in the last two elections because they thought Republicans had walked away from their traditional principle of fiscal discipline and supported the Iraq war. Candidates running in the state this time are dedicated to returning to fiscal conservativism, he said.

However, he offered some caution that Republicans can only do so much without controlling the White House.

“The presidency is still extremely strong, and I don’t think anybody is overpromising what can occur,” he said.

- Photo credit: Kevin Lamarque

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