President Reagan, continuing his weekly radio campaigning against the Democratic ticket, charged Saturday that “the last time they were in office, the liberals clobbered the American middle class, and we stopped them.”
Reagan argued that eight years of Republican rule have brought increased family income, more affordable homes and rental units, as well as the lowest unemployment rates in 14 years, contrary to Democratic charges that the middle class has suffered during his Administration.
The President said high interest rates priced many Americans out of the housing market in the late 1970s, but reduced inflation and lower mortgage costs have changed that picture. He insisted: “We have more, much more, affordable housing today than we had eight years ago.”
Speaking in response, Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.) said the Democratic-controlled Congress delivered clean water, trade, education and plant-closing notification laws despite Reagan’s strong opposition.
Only White House-backed filibusters, Byrd said, halted Democrats’ efforts to pass legislation to increase the minimum wage and assure unpaid parental leave and child care to help two-paycheck families.
“We delivered despite two years of confrontation,” he said. “We have listened to the people.”