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Republicans, even John Boehner, face voter backlash over unemployment cutoff

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Jobs,Labor,Republican Party,John Boehner,2014 Elections,Unemployment

House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner, face a sharp backlash from voters for pushing a budget deal that denies the extension of unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans past Dec. 28, according to a collection of polls being released Monday.

In Boehner’s Ohio district, for example, 63 percent of voters support extending the benefits, 34 percent don’t. As part of the budget compromise and at the urging of the GOP, the benefits were not extended.

In his district, according to the Democratic poll firm PPP, just 31 percent are more likely to vote to re-elect Boehner, while 33 wouldn't. The same poll finds that Boehner's approval ratings are upside down: 40 percent approve, 50 percent disapprove. The sample of Republicans in the poll was 42 percent, Democrats 28 percent, and independents 31 percent.

The poll, provided in advance to Secrets, was done for the Obama-supporting group Americans United for Change which is leading the effort by outside groups to put pressure on Republicans to OK extended unemployment benefits.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised to hold a special session to deal with the issue which his Senate shrugged off when it OK’d the budget compromise. But Republicans want the Democrats to come up with offsetting budget cuts to cover the costs.

The poll looked at several Republican lawmakers and found that all could be punished by voters because of the unemployment issue. “These congressmen are starting out with weak approval ratings that make a vote to cease extended unemployment even more politically risky,” said PPP's memo.

“Speaker Boehner and fellow Washington Republicans are hopelessly out-of-touch, and their decision to Scrooge over a million unemployed Americans three days after Christmas is the latest and among the worst examples of it. All these struggling Americans got from the GOP for Christmas was a ‘Get Employed Soon’ card,” said Jeremy J. Funk, communications director of Americans United for Change.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.