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Traling in poll, Hill touts fiscal conservatism

by Joe Arnold


Posted on January 29, 2010 at 6:48 PM

Southern Indiana Democrat U.S. Rep. Baron Hill (IN-9) is calling out U.S. Senate Republicans for failing to support his budget tightening measure.

Hill spoke in New Albany Friday, days after a Survey USA poll showed an uphill battle for his re-election.

Less than 15 months after Hill defeated Republican Mike Sodrel by nearly 20 points, the poll now has Sodrel leading Hill by eight points, a 27 point swing.

"The only poll I believe in is the poll on election day," Hill countered.

Sodrel says Hill's support of President Obama's healthcare overhaul shows that Hill is too liberal for his 9th District constituents.

The race is already a target of the national Republican party, even before a nominee is chosen, banking on the same voter discontent that led to Scott Brown's upset win in Massachusetts.

"The race in Massachusetts is not going to have any effect on any of the races in Indiana,"  Hill said, "We're on our own here. Now there's no question that the political climate is difficult for democrats right now."

A Senate vote Thursday on "Paygo," a budget control measure that mirrors legislation Hill has sponsored in the House offers an opportunity for Hill to tout his conservative credentials.

The pay-as-you-go bill requires any new spending to be offset with cuts elsewhere.  It passed along strict party lines.

"I've always been a fiscal conservative. I believe in balanced budgets.  I've been fighting for these kinds of rules in order for us to be fiscally responsible ever since I entered Congress, so it's nothing new to me," Hill said

Hill acknowledges that he was surprised that the Senate passed the measure.
"In credit to Harry Reid and to the President and efforts from people like myself, other Blue Dogs who are in Congress, we actually persuaded the Senate to do it, so it's a good day for me," Hill said.

But Hill took Republicans task because the bill was passed along strict party lines.

"If we're really serious about talking about fiscal responsibilty, if we're really serious about getting us on a pathway to a balanced budgets, then there needs to be bipartisan support. Unfortunately, that did not happen. and so the Democrats in the Senate had to pass it on its own.  And I predict that the Democrats will have to pass it in the House on its own."

Hill says he hopes voters recognize that the legislation addresses their concerns about government spending.

"I understand the anger. I understand the frustration. and I'm sensitive to it.  And one of the things that I want to do to pass this legislation to demonstrate that we really are serious about getting out fiscal house in order because I share their concerns."