After a rough couple of months for his caucus, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel has pinned his hopes for the party on the recently released House GOP budget proposal.
“Let me stipulate, it’s a tough climate for us right now,” Israel told reporters at a Wednesday morning news conference at the National Press Club. “But I believe that this budget, this Republican budget, helps change the narrative by reminding voters we’ve got their backs. “
“And climates change,” he added. The New York Democrat said his party will make the case to voters that the Republican budget prioritizes corporate subsidies over the interests of the middle class. In several instances, Israel referenced issues in districts with vulnerable House Republicans, like Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla. and Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo.
Israel’s proclamation comes one day after House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., released his annual proposed spending plan.
Israel used the term “middle class” approximately 35 times in the 45-minute news conference.
“They should have just printed middle finger on to the middle class on page one of this budget, that’s how this budget treats middle class families in America,” he said.
This week, Democrats got some some good news out of the Affordable Care Act — a law that has dogged the party’s most endangered members in recent cycles. But President Barack Obama’s administration announced that the program exceeded enrollment expectations on Tuesday.
But Israel was hesitant to say that health care law is now a helpful political issue to his vulnerable incumbents.
“It’s too early to say whether the tide has turned, and whether the tide has turned is outside of my control,” he said.
Israel added that while he “cannot predict the future,” he is not anticipating any more retirements in his caucus from competitive districts.
Democrats must capture a net of 17 seats to gain control of the House.