U.S. Rep. John Tierney, D-Salem, joined with Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget committee, on Monday to meet with reporters and discuss Democratic and Republican budget plans as well as a possible Democratic majority in the House.
"[Van Vollen] is a good leader in our caucus who has helped us put together a budget alternative to the Ryan budget," Tierney said.
Tierney represents the Sixth Congressional District, which includes Hamiulton and Wenham. He is being challenged by Republican Richard Tisei of Wakefield.
Tierney and Van Hollen emphasized seniors -- a key voter group in this election -- when discussing party budget differences. Seniors, the two congressmen said, would pay more in co-pays and premiums under a Republican budget plan.
"Because of [Republicans'] fixation with getting more tax cuts for wealthy Americans, their budget hits everybody else that much harder," Van Hollen said. "I can understand why [Republicans] want to run away from it, but the reality is they're trying to have it both ways."
Van Hollen and Tierney attacked Republican claims that the Affordable Care Act took money out of Medicare services, adding that the cost savings were from what providers and insurers are paid, not to what services are given.
"Medicare is a cost-sharing program," Van Hollen said. "If you're going to start paying private insurance companies more, seniors are going to pay higher co-pays and higher premiums now... Both for seniors today and seniors 10 years from now, the Ryan Plan is a really rotten deal for seniors."
"What John Tierney and I, and the Democrats, have been fighting for is a balanced approach to deficit reduction," Van Hollen said.
If the Democrats were to win control of the House in November, Van Hollen would become the chairman of the Budget Committee.
"I think the House has run more effectively and more in favor of the middle class with Democrats in charge," Tierney said.
Will talk of a possible new Democratic majority sway Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents in the 6th District to vote for John Tierney?
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been saying there is a good chance for Democrats to win control, saying about 60 seats are toss-ups and all that is needed is a net gain of 25 seats. But that seems to be unlikely, according to most analysts. The Cook Political Report projects that when all 435 House races are tallied, the Democrats will pick up eight seats at the most.
Van Hollen disagrees with that assessment.
"The momentum is very much in the direction of Democrats regaining the House," Van Hollen said. He added that he believes support for President Obama will bring more votes to Democrats. "That will help push a lot of those seats [toss-ups] over the top. And this race, John Tierney's race, is very important for the Democrats regaining the house."
A new Boston Globe poll shows Tisei leading in the race against Tierney, 37 percent to 31 percent. But that same poll shows 30 percent of likely voters still undecided.