Dem Leader Admits Koch Brothers Make 'Me Toss and Turn at Night'

(Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel acknowledged today that he loses sleep over GOP super PACs and the Koch brothers.

"On the issue of the Republican super PACs and the Koch brothers, honestly, it is the one thing that makes me toss and turn at night," Israel said of influential GOP donors David and Charles Koch. "I don't toss and turn over redistricting, but I do lose sleep over the impact of the super PACs."

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The New York congressman also predicts a "tough climate" for his party heading into the 2014 midterm election, but said the newly drafted House Republican budget, released Tuesday, will help Democrats "change the narrative by reminding voters who has their backs."

"Let me give you the three words that will define the next seven months: the Republican budget," Israel said, announcing that the DCCC is launching a new effort called "Battleground Middle Class," where it will "hold House Republicans accountable in their district for a budget that weakens the middle class in order to protect the special interests."

Democrats will focus on parts of GOP Rep. Paul Ryan's budget blueprint that makes cuts to education and infrastructure, Israel said.

Ryan's plan is unlikely to pass in the Democratic controlled Senate.

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The budget hurts the middle class and "tightens the noose" around them, Israel said. The new push involves robocalls in 76 districts, online ads, and an early field effort investment that already includes 33 paid staffers on the ground.

He would not predict whether the Democrats would gain the 17 seats needed to retake the House, saying, "I've given up prophesizing and predicting. It's a waste of time."

"As a Mets fan, you never predict the ninth inning in the first inning," Israel, a congressman from New York, said at an event today at the National Press Club. "Climates change and they change quickly."

Israel spoke just a day after the White House announced more than 7 million sign-ups for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and he said Democratic candidates are going to go "on offense on exactly what repeal means."

"Independents are turned off by this relentless obsession with repeal, repeal, repeal," Israel said.

Republicans responded to Israel's remarks noting they will be focused on the Affordable Care Act, as well as the president's approval ratings.

"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," National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Andrea Bozek said in a response. "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."

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