POLITICS
09/07/2014 09:58 am ET Updated Sep 08, 2014

Obama: Keeping Democratic Control Of The Senate Matters

Even if a Democrat-led Senate hasn't helped deliver much legislation to the president's desk, President Barack Obama said in an interview aired Sunday that it remains important for the party to maintain control of the upper chamber.

NBC "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd pointed out the many policy items Obama has advocated that haven't passed through Congress, often because they were blocked by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Obama acknowledged that many of his major agenda items had not gotten through, and that their passage would remain difficult. But he said the Senate races were still important, in part because of the message it would send if Democrats win vulnerable seats.

"It is true that if the House stays Republican, then it's unlikely that I get a lot of these bills to my desk," Obama told Todd, "but it makes a big difference if we've got at least one branch in Congress that is presenting these ideas, is making arguments."

"I know that given the gridlock that we've seen over the last couple of years, it's easy to say that these midterms don't matter," he continued. "But the fact of the matter is that on every issue that's important to middle-class Americans, overwhelmingly we're seeing a majority prefer the Democratic option, and us having a Democratic Senate that can present those issues and put them forward just like they did on immigration, even if the House Republicans failed to act, means that we're debating the right stuff for the country."

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