Familiar recess scripts: Dems tout successes, GOP to slam agenda

Senate Democrats and Republicans will stick to familiar scripts during their five-week August recess, according to the messages they have received from their leaders, with Democrats touting their legislative success and the GOP criticizing an “overreaching” agenda.

Recess packets distributed to all members show the two parties aren’t likely to stray from those core messages, with the Nov. 2 election just three months away. The packets are used by both parties to keep members on message during weeks when Congress is on break. The Senate adjourned Thursday and isn’t scheduled to return until Sept. 13.

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Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidAmendments fuel resentments within Senate GOP Donald Trump is delivering on his promises and voters are noticing Danny Tarkanian wins Nevada GOP congressional primary MORE (D-Nev.) and Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) wrote Democrats to remind them of the Wall Street reform bill that was passed in July, as well as ongoing efforts to cut taxes for small businesses and create a new energy plan. Democrats also passed a $26 billion state aid package on Wednesday to help states with climbing Medicaid costs and schoolteacher salaries.

“But every step of the way, Republicans proved they would rather kill jobs than create them,” Reid and Dorgan wrote. “Republicans have tried to block every piece of job-creating legislation that Democrats passed this session. They are nostalgic for a system that failed, so they’re once again rooting for failure.”

Reid and Dorgan suggest Democratic senators hold public events to highlight the party’s focus on middle-class families — “these could be conducted in local civic centers, restaurants, or even in a family’s living room” — or a roundtable discussion or job fair with small-business owners to spotlight the party’s efforts on their behalf.

The Democratic packet also reminds senators that Aug. 14 will mark the 75th anniversary of the Social Security Act, “which provides an important opportunity for you to do an event with seniors to highlight this important program.”

The Republican packet, written by Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOn The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Supreme Court allows states to collect sales taxes from online retailers | Judge finds consumer bureau structure unconstitutional | Banks clear Fed stress tests Supreme Court rules states can require online sellers to collect sales tax 13 GOP senators ask administration to pause separation of immigrant families MORE (Tenn.), urges members to argue for a “check and balance” against “overreaching” Democratic policies. Alexander also reminds GOP senators of a spending freeze proposal authored by Sens. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard Sessions'Occupy ICE' protests emerge across the country Prosecutor warned border authorities office is ‘diverting’ DOJ resources from other cases: report There's room in America for domestic violence victims MORE (R-Ala.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillNail manufacturing exec who voted for Trump blames him for layoffs, asks Democrat for help The American economy is stronger than ever six months after tax cuts The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Immigration drama grips Washington MORE (D-Mo.).

“Republicans understand that our nation's debt problem is not that we tax too little, but that we spend too much,” Alexander wrote.

The GOP packet also promotes the party’s efforts to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts by President George W. Bush instead of allowing them to expire as scheduled at the end of the year.

Alexander’s letter to Republicans defends the GOP’s energy record, saying that the party’s focus on nuclear power and research and development is superior to the Democratic agenda.

“We also understand that cleaning up the Gulf and ending Democrats' job-killing drilling moratorium must be a national priority,” Alexander said.

President Obama has imposed a moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf in the wake of the BP oil spill, although the administration has had mixed results enforcing it in court.

Before the Senate adjourned last week, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSchumer: Obama 'very amenable' to helping Senate Dems in midterms The Hill's Morning Report: Can Trump close the deal with North Korea? Senate must save itself by confirming Mike Pompeo MORE (N.J.) told reporters that the Senate in September will take up the small-business bill, energy legislation and the extension of the tax cuts for families making less than $250,000 per year.

Reid on Thursday filed a cloture motion on the small-business bill, setting up procedural votes on Sept. 14.