BOWLING GREEN - The congressional logjam blocking action on problems holding back stronger economic growth would be broken if Republicans win control of the Senate in November, the new U.S. House majority leader said Saturday during a visit to assist Kentucky GOP candidates.
Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California blamed Senate Democrats for congressional inaction. McCarthy said Senate and House Republicans would work effectively if the GOP consolidates its congressional power by gaining majority status in the Senate.
"I think given the opportunity, we'll get things done," he told reporters before headlining a fundraiser to assist state GOP House candidates.
In Kentucky, the GOP is making a strong push this year to end Democrats' historic control of the state House.
Kentucky Democrats countered that McCarthy is part of the reason for the gridlock in Washington.
"This link between Kentucky Republicans and their counterparts in Washington, D.C., is disconcerting and bad for Kentucky," said state Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon. "Kentuckians are sick of the games, and will reject Republican efforts to take the House in November."
McCarthy said he recognizes the public's demand for congressional action to deal with "this malaise that has come over this economy."
"We want an agenda that people out there want to see happen," he said of GOP proposals. "We want to be able to secure the borders. We want tax reform. We want a national energy policy. We want to reform these agencies that have become too strong, too bureaucratic, not accountable."
Kentucky's hard-fought Senate race could be crucial in deciding which party runs the Senate after November.
The big-spending campaign pits Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.
The other overarching political question in Kentucky this year is which party will be in charge of the state House after the election.
Republicans have not controlled the Kentucky House since 1920, but have been slowly cutting into the Democratic majority. Republicans need to pick up five seats to win House control. The GOP is firmly in control of the state Senate.
Logsdon predicted that Democrats will be in "solid control" of the House next year, and said Gov. Steve Beshear's popularity will be a boost for Democratic statehouse candidates.