Pelosi: 'What did middle-class families ever do to Republicans in the Senate?'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday twice ripped Senate Republicans for blocking legislation containing extended unemployment benefits.

“What did middle-class families ever do to Republicans in the Senate that they would snuff out every opportunity for job creation that has been sent to them?” Pelosi chided at an afternoon press conference with Democratic women to drum up support for her remaining jobs agenda.

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Much of the agenda is either unmovable in the Senate or subject to stalemate in the House.

“Why can’t they develop any ideas of their own to create jobs? Why can’t they give a glimmer of hope to America’s working families — to some who have jobs but fear losing them, to some who want better jobs, to some who are concerned about their children or their neighbors or other family members being able to get a job?” the Speaker said.

Later, at her weekly press conference, Pelosi said that “Republican senators seem to have a tin ear when it comes to the appeals of the American people for job creation.”

Pelosi’s frustration has been on the rise lately. She was forced to scale back a package of unemployment insurance extensions, aid to states and extended COBRA health insurance benefits in part because her vulnerable members did not want to vote to add to the deficit without an assurance that the Senate would follow suit.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has not been able to attract even a single Republican vote on the extenders bill — including the latest version on Thursday.

Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), defended GOP opposition, saying, “The principle they’re defending here is not some program. The principle Democrats are defending is that they will not pass a bill unless it adds to the debt.”

And the Speaker’s ire did not seem reserved exclusively for Senate Republicans. Without mentioning Reid or any Senate Democrat by name, Pelosi did not hide her disgust with the Senate’s passage of a standalone temporary “doc fix.”

“When they sent this very, very slim reed of a piece of legislation over to us, which wasn’t even really that well-written — this was, I think, the Republican initiative, and they just did it without objection, or whatever the term of art is on the Senate side ... this was totally inadequate,” Pelosi said. “Members said, ‘No, we have to send something back that is bigger, but let’s see what they can do on unemployment.’

"Well, it is clear they are not able to do anything this week anyway.”

Pelosi said the House "might" take up the doc-fix bill before finishing its work for the week on Thursday evening. The House on Thursday did pass legislation to temporarily reverse a steep pay cut for Medicare doctors that took hold this month.

This story was updated at 9:20 p.m.