Washington (CNN) - A day after the White House claimed victory in its Obamacare enrollment numbers, the group tasked with electing Democrats to the House acknowledged it's still a "tough climate" for Democrats in this year's midterms, but also insisted they still plan to campaign on the health care law.
But Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said an even bigger focus this year will be renewed attempts by Democrats to clobber Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan on the campaign trail.
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Speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday, Israel said Democrats are "ratcheting up" their offense against Republicans who favor a repeal of the health care law, and stressed that Democratic strategy will focus on the negative consequences of eliminating the law.
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Israel faulted Republicans for maintaining an "obsessive" and "relentless" assault against the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare is "the only thing that animates a fractured, weak base that is in a civil war," he said, referring to the GOP.
But Israel didn't suggest there'd be party-wide Democratic support for the health care law. As some candidates or incumbents in tight races have distanced themselves from President Obama-whose approval ratings have remained underwater this year-Israel acknowledged that some Democrats will need to continue doing what's best for their contests.
"Every member has to be a good fit for their district. When you have a disagreement with the President, you should state your disagreement. When you have an agreement with the President, you should state your agreement," he said. "Don't worry about what's happening inside the Beltway. Worry about what's happening when you go door to door."
The priority, he said, will be bashing Ryan's budget plan, which balances the federal budget in a decade in part by repealing Obamacare, changing Medicare and cutting social programs like food stamps.
"Let me give the three words that will define the next seven months: The Republican budget," Israel said.
Democrats argue that Ryan’s budget places too much of a burden on the middle class, while allowing tax breaks for the wealthy.
"They should have just printed a middle finger to the middle class on page one of this budget," Israel said.
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Democrats also zeroed in on the House Budget Committee chairman's proposal in the 2012 cycle, and attributed that line of attack to their net gain of eight seats in the House, though they still failed to win back the majority. Israel said current internal polls show an attack on the GOP budget remains a winning argument for Democrats.
Republicans say the strategy is not as potent as Democrats hope.
"In 2012-with President Obama on the ballot-Steve Israel called Paul Ryan the Democrats' 'majority maker,' yet his party didn't even come close," said Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Republicans also point to their recent win in Florida's special House election, in which the Republican candidate – who ran against Obamacare – ultimately won.
"We hope Democrats keep running on their support of Obamacare's drastic cuts to Medicare, opposition to a balanced budget, and support for an unpopular President," Bozek said in a statement.
Polls show the country remains split on the controversial health care law. According to a recent Washington Post/ABC News survey, 49% of Americans support the law, while 48% oppose the changes it's making to the health care system.
Forty-nine percent, however, say they don't favor Republican efforts to replace the law, while slightly fewer, 47%, say they back such efforts.
CNN Capitol Hill Reporter Lisa Desjardins contributed to this report.
Alan S – I think that is why republicans want to repeal ACA. If those who vote GOP could see a doctor and get help, republicans would lose most of their base.
Thats right! Before the ACA, Republicans were cancelling insurance policies. Now that ACA is law, no policies have been cancelled. And now, because of ACA, everyone is covered. And it's free! Plus, you get a 2500 dollar rebate!
The ONLY good thing about Ryan's latest budget is that it was symbolically released on April 1st.. !!
Only one President in the last 35 years has produced a BUDGET SURPLUS and REDUCED the National Debt. That would be Democrat, Bill Clinton. Only one President over the past 15 years has shrunk the National Deficit year over year; that would Democrat Barack Obama.
Ryan really does have death panels. Shred the social safety net and lots of Grandmas, little kids and others will die in the streets. So what. Ryan doesn't care and won't until they try to jerk his Mom's social security away from her and she can no longer enjoy the good life in Florida.
and where is the democrat party solution to address their massive deficits and debt??? (crickets)
hey, JA, who controls the House- you know the place where there hasn't been a budget in 3 years? Oh, yeah, the GOP. Remember them?
which the democrats in the senate refuse to even vote on and obama refuses to sign. democrats, the party of no fiscal responsibility. their plan is to spend more and tax and borrow more until the country is bankrupt or taxes are doubled. so where is the democrat plan? trillion dollar deficits are projected to return in a few years, even after the trillion dollars in tax hikes the democrats have gotten. will you be demanding more from fewer and fewer people? or will you be borrowing the country into $20-30 trillion of debt?
When the Right present a budget that is something other than right-wing social engineering, Obama will sign it. Its that simple.
I'matool – Love your lies. Most impressed with your Hannity talking points. Were any policies ever cancelled for people who got sick before ACA? Were premiums ever increased before ACA? I don't even think Fox told you that health care was free and you would get a $2500 rebate. Let me guess, you are improvising.
Paul Ryan- the Eddie Haskell of the 21st century!
Its a losing point for the Dem's, Ryans budget is a common sense idea. When health care costs rockets and millions cannot afford insurance due to Democrats, the Republicans will gain control of the Senate and maintain the House. Then we can start reparing this country that Obama and the Democrats tore down. OF course all the liberals on here and blind to that fact. I feel sorry for you all.
Govt. Budgets are supposed to reflect the Morality of a Nation. The Ryan Budget fails that test according to my readings of the Four Gospels. Want a Second Opinion ? Ask Pope Francis what he thinks.
A Balanced Budget in 10 years !! And then what? We all get in balloons & fly away1 Is THAT the purpose of a National Govt.; to say we BALANCED THE BUDGET !! PS-Clinton DID it several times & the max tax rate on "Job Creators" was 36%.
I guess you were asleep during W's eight years at the helm when our economy came close to collapse. 700,000 jobs being lost a month. near the end of that debacle. That is what I call "tore down" Job creation is up – over 200,000 for March and getting better each month. You need to stop watch Sean Hannity or start smelling what you are shoveling.
"Republicans only want health care for the rich."
Republicans only want health care for the master race.