By MIke Lillis - 09/24/12 07:33 PM EDT
House Democratic leaders on Monday laid out their case for taking back the lower chamber, urging rank-and-file members to focus their pre-election messaging on the long list of prominent proposals GOP leaders have kicked to the lame duck.
In a letter to their troops, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) hammered Republicans for calling a long recess while a slew of high-priority bills remain undone, including proposals to renew farm subsidies, reform the postal service, reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and extend the Bush-era tax rates to middle-class families.
"Even as Republicans have failed to act on these critical issues, they have wasted time on political messaging bills, voting six times for a budget that would end the Medicare guarantee, and voting 33 times to repeal health care reform and the consumer protections and benefits it brings," Pelosi and Hoyer wrote.
"As we meet with constituents this fall, this is the message we will be carrying from Washington — that the Republican record of inaction for the middle class is the wrong direction for America and that Democrats are ready to lead with real solutions," they added.
"We hope you will join us in making this case in each of your districts."
Congress left Washington on Friday for a seven-week recess extending beyond the Nov. 6 elections. The break comes just days after lawmakers returned from a five-week August vacation.
The Senate, which is controlled by the Democrats, exited early Saturday for roughly the same duration.
While it's not unusual for Congress to take long breaks in election years to allow lawmakers to campaign, this year's recess is the earliest ahead of elections in more than half a century.