The dueling messages have been on display in recent days - perhaps providing a sneak preview into the campaign messages the parties will employ this fall in an election that will decide whether Democrats retain control of both chambers of Congress.
Rep. Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania Democrat, has hammered his opponent in the coming U.S. Senate race, Republican Pat Toomey, a former three-term congressman, because he voiced opposition to the FMAP and teacher funding package.
“Congressman Toomey’s out-of-touch philosophy was on display again yesterday when he publicly opposed deficit-neutral aid to states that would prevent massive layoffs and cuts to essential service,” Mr. Sestak’s campaign said in a statement.
Asked whether this line of attack would continue as the campaign season heats up, Sestak spokesman Jonathon Dworkin told The Times, “We will certainly point out that this issue is another example of Congressman Toomey’s rigid mindset that favors benefits for the wealthiest, but opposes creating opportunities for the middle class.”
Toomey spokeswoman Nachama Soloveichik fired back by calling the bill a “bailout for irresponsible states” that spent recklessly when times were good and “now that they’ve run out of money, they’re running to the federal government to force taxpayers to bail them out.”
Mr. Sestak “voted for the Wall Street bailout, the auto bailout, the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, so it is not surprising that he has another opportunity to vote for a bailout and he says, ‘Sign me up,’ ” she said.
Party leaders continued to trade political barbs Monday.
Mrs. Pelosi criticized Republicans who had opposed the state aid while pushing to preserve expiring tax cuts for Americans in the top income brackets. The cuts were approved under President George W. Bush.
“With jaw-dropping indifference to America’s teachers and police officers, the GOP is calling for an extension of the deficit-busting Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest few and saddling Americans with nearly $700 billion in debt over a paid-for bill that creates 310,000 jobs for hard-working Americans,” the California Democrat said in a press release.
Mr. Boehner’s office characterized the bill as a payoff to union bosses and liberal special interests.
“This spending was a direct order from Washington unions to Democratic leaders, and people will remember that Democratic members listened to union bosses and their liberal leadership rather than their constituents, who want to stop the spending and end the bailouts,” said Michael Steel, Mr. Boehner’s spokesman.