Cong. Mike Ross (D-Prescott) is already eyeing the 2012 election landscape and he sees Democratic gains in the now-GOP U.S. House, an epic fight in the U.S. Senate, and a solid path to re-election for President Barack Obama.
"I think the Republicans will actually lose some seats in the House [in 2012]. I think the real battleground is going to be in the Senate," Ross tells Talk Business.
Next year’s Presidential politics are already heating up with potential candidacies and drop-outs. Ross says the developments of the last few weeks – including the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, Mike Huckabee’s primary pass, and a lackluster GOP field – bode well for the incumbent President.
"I fully expect that President Obama will be re-elected," Ross says emphatically.
A ten-year Democratic veteran of the House and the state’s longest serving member of Congress, Ross is touring the expansive Fourth District during the recess.
This week, he will be in Arkadelphia to take part in the first Arkadelphia Promise scholarship award ceremony and he’ll join officials at the General Dynamics plant in Camden to mark the 4 millionth rocket produced by the facility.
As for pending Congressional action, Ross is guardedly pessimistic about the ability to achieve bipartisan goals on major, controversial issues in Washington, D.C.
"I think it’s going to be difficult to move much legislation in this Congress," Ross said in reference to the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-held Senate.
"What complicates it even more is while the Republicans have a majority in the House, Speaker Boehner is losing anywhere from 60 to 80 Republican votes on controversial issues, especially fiscal issues," Ross said.
"In the Senate, it takes 60 votes to move anything and while the Democrats are in the majority in the Senate, they have less 60. The only thing worse than being in the minority in the Senate is being in the majority with less than 60 votes because you can’t move anything but you get blamed for everything," he added.
"On top of that, the 2012 Presidential race has already started so the Republicans in the House and the Senate, they want President Obama to fail," Ross said.
The Congressman is uncertain how the upcoming controversial vote to raise the debt ceiling may shake out. Like many freshmen House Republicans, veteran Ross has concerns about federal government spending. While he acknowledges that spending and the debt ceiling are unrelated, he’s not so sure that they shouldn’t be tied together to an extent.
"I think some people confuse the debt limit with spending. This does not authorize any new spending. Raising the debt limit simply says that the United States of America is going to pay its bills," said Ross who warns that not raising the ceiling will hurt financial markets worldwide.
"At the same time, we’ve got to cut spending in this country. While the debt limit is independent of spending, I think its time that we maybe bring the two together," Ross noted. He touted the conservative Blue Dog Democrats’ coalition plan to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade. "We didn’t get in this mess overnight and we’re not going to get out of it overnight… hopefully, we can have a conversation."