ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe & John Parkinson report:
The top Republicans in Congress today vowed to “listen” to the “very loud message” that voters sent yesterday in handing the GOP a decisive victory in the House and at least six new seats in the Senate.
“What we need to do is to listen to the American people. They sent a very loud message last night, not only to the House and to the Senate, but if you look at the number of Republican governors that won, the number of Republican legislative bodies that won, it’s pretty clear the American people want a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government here in Washington, DC,” House Speaker-in waiting John Boehner said at a news conference on Capitol Hill.
The top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said Democrats suffered widespread losses last night because they failed to listen to the people during the past two years.
“I think what our friends on the other side learned is that choosing the president over your constituents is not a good strategy,” McConnell said. “This election yesterday was clearly a referendum on the administration and the Democratic majority here in the Congress. Ignoring the voters and their wishes, as you could see during the entire two-year period, produces predictable results.”
“The best strategy for the other side would be to listen to the voters yesterday,” he said. “They made a clear statement about what they'd like to see done. If the president comes in our direction, obviously we want to make progress for the country over the next two years.”
In addition to creating jobs and cutting spending, the GOP leaders also said they hope to make progress on trade agreements, clean coal technology, and nuclear power, as well as repealing the Democrats’ new health care law.
“We have to do everything we can to try to repeal this bill,” Boehner said.
The Ohio lawmaker shrugged off the suggestion that Republican leaders might have problems working with newly-elected Tea Party members.
“What unites us as Republicans will be the agenda of the American people,” Boehner stated. “If we're listening to the American people, I don't see any problems incorporating members of the Tea Party along with our party in a quest that's really the same: they want us to cut spending and focus on creating jobs in America.”
Boehner said current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left him “a very nice voicemail” this morning and he anticipates a smooth transition of power. On choking up in a speech at an election party last night, Boehner acknowledged that he finds it “difficult to talk about my background or talk about my family.”
“I thought I was going to be in good shape, but not as good as it turned out,” he said.