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House Democrats Slam Senate GOP Over Unemployment

House Democrats seeking to reclaim the offensive on jobs blasted Senate Republicans on Wednesday for blocking an extension of unemployment benefits that expired nearly six weeks ago.

“Every day … is a tragic delay,” said Ways and Means Chairman Sander Levin (D-Mich.), who called on “one or two” additional Senate Republicans to “step up to the plate” and support restoring unemployment benefits.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is short of the 60 votes he needs to thwart a GOP filibuster until a replacement is named for Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).

Democrats have made jobs the centerpiece of their election-year agenda and have seized on Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl’s (R-Ariz.) recent description of jobless benefits as a “necessary evil” to portray the GOP as out of touch with working people.

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) speculated that Kyl had never known anyone who was unemployed or he would not have made that remark.

“Nor does he care to know anybody who is unemployed,” McDermott added.

The House has passed several unemployment extensions — most recently a five-month extension July 1 — but the measures have stalled in the Senate amid GOP opposition.

Extended unemployment insurance benefits expired June 2.

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