The looming expiration of federal unemployment benefits for more than 1 million Americans is “simply immoral,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday.

In a statement, the Democratic leader said it’s inexcusable that the benefits will lapse on Saturday, and blamed Republicans for allowing it to happen.“Starting tomorrow, too many American families will face the New Year with uncertainty, insecurity, and instability as a result of congressional Republicans’ refusal to extend critical unemployment insurance,” she said. “The first item on Congress’ agenda in the New Year must be an extension of unemployment insurance. That must be our priority on day one.”

Pelosi and other Democrats blasted, but did not try to block, a two-year budget agreement Congress passed just before its holiday break for not including another extension of the jobless benefits.

Meanwhile, Republicans contend that Democrats dropped the ball by not offering a specific plan to cover the costs of an extension before heading home for the holidays.

“Why didn’t they offer a plan that met the Speaker’s requirements – fiscally-responsible, with something to create jobs – or any plan, for that matter, before they left for the holidays?” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

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