Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, proclaimed Wednesday that Republicans may have built a “hundred-year majority” in the House.
"We're back to a majority as big as any of us have seen in our lifetimes. It may be a hundred-year majority," he said.
They could end up with as many as 249 seats, which would be the largest House Republican majority since 1930. That's well past their early goal of netting 11 seats for a 245 seat majority in the next Congress.
Walden’s language seemed to echo GOP strategist Karl Rove’s dream from ten years ago of building a “permanent” Republican majority in Washington.
But Daniel Scarpinato, a spokesman for the NRCC, said Walden was merely putting Tuesday’s resounding victory into historical context, not predicting decades of House GOP rule.
“His reference to a ‘hundred-year majority’ was that it’s been nearly 100 years since we’ve seen a majority this size," he said, noting a NRCC memo that pointed to those likely gains. “[He] wasn’t suggesting in any way that the majority is safe for 100 years.”
Walden and other GOP leaders exulted at a press conference at Republican National Committee headquarters after the election and promised big accomplishments such as tax reform.
They were encouraged not only by big gains in the Senate and House but also victories in gubernatorial and state legislative races across the country.
Republican candidates fared much better among women and young voters and their get-out-the-vote operation excelled compared to two years ago when President Obama won reelection.
“Our party will ultimately be measured by how we govern and that’s what Americans have elected us to do and we’re eager to get to that work,” Walden said.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry MoranJerry MoranYahoo reveals new details about security A guide to the committees: Senate Verizon, Yahoo slash merger deal by 0M over data breaches MORE (Kan.) said the new Senate GOP majority would first focus on the basic tasks of governing, such as passing a budget as required by law.
He said Republicans would focus on the nuts and bolts of the legislative process by passing the annual appropriations bills under regular order instead of piling them into a year-end omnibus.
But he added that GOP leaders would also set their sights on ambitious goals such as tax reform.
“Tax reform is a great opportunity for the Senate and the House to come together,” he said.
“I think there’s still a huge opportunity for the Senate to find common ground on tax reform,” Moran added. “I think the country’s economy, people’s jobs, significantly demand that tax reform.”
Reince Priebus, the chairman of the RNC, said immigration reform is still alive as well, setting a high bar for the new Senate Republican majority and the expanded House GOP majority.
“The idea of serious immigration reform is still alive and something that both parties need to look at,” he said, noting that Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), two rising conservative stars, have talked about the need for immigration reform.
Priebus said Congress must assure the American public that the border will be secured as part of any effort to overhaul immigration laws.
He said the Republican Congress can set budget parameters without a signature from Obama, which could also pave the way for tax reform.
This post was updated at 3 p.m.