DCCC chairman slams GOP on jobless benefits

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) on Friday attacked House Republicans for failing to extend unemployment benefits.

Democrats have become increasingly vocal in recent weeks about the need for an extension. The benefits are set to expire this Saturday, immediately impacting 1.3 million Americans.

"Republicans in Congress have failed this country on so many fronts — failing to create jobs, failing to focus on the right priorities, failing to strengthen the middle class — and this weekend, 1.3 million Americans who are looking for work will personally pay the price for Republicans' failure to extend unemployment insurance," Israel said in a statement.

"The difference between Republicans and Democrats is stark; Democrats will continue to stand with hardworking families who are trying to create a better life, whether it’s helping them through tough times with unemployment insurance, working to increase the minimum wage or investing in a good education for their children."

Many Republicans oppose extending federal unemployment insurance, though House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said he is willing to consider an extension, if it is paid for with other cuts in government spending.

The extension was not included as a part of the bipartisan budget deal reached earlier this month by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The absence of such a provision enraged Democrats, but the deal passed easily through both chambers of Congress.

A core part of the DCCC's strategy this cycle is to paint Republicans as out of touch on economic issues.

A bipartisan group of senators is working on a short-term extension of unemployment benefits that would retroactively pay missed checks, which could pass early in January. It's unclear whether the Republican leadership in the House would be willing to advance that effort.