As the Senate remained deadlocked over whether and how to extend emergency jobless benefits, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said he was willing to negotiate.
"I understand that some Republican Senators are having productive conversations about possible offsets for a full-year extension of unemployment insurance benefits," he told the Senate Thursday.
"I repeat: I am personally opposed to offsetting the cost of emergency unemployment benefits. President Bush extended emergency unemployment insurance five times," Reid said.
"Not one of those five times did Republicans ask him to offset the cost. It wasn’t right to offset the cost when Bush was President, and it’s not right to offset the cost now that President Obama is in the White House."
Reid, though, said that "since many Republican Senators are insisting that the cost be offset, I am happy to negotiate a long-term extension of emergency unemployment benefits as long as it is paid for in a reasonable way."
Six Republicans voted Monday to limit debate on a motion to proceed to legislation that would extend the benefits three months, without an offset. Three of those Republicans have indicated they won't be so accommodating unless an offset is found.