White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday it was "hard to believe" that Republicans had rejected a Democratic proposal to extend unemployment insurance through November with cost off-sets.
"Sen. [Harry] Reid and Senate Democrats, in response to Republicans, as I understand it, and their insistence on offsets, put forward a proposal for a long-term extension using offsets that Republicans support. And now that's not good enough," Carney said. "It's hard to believe."
Under the Reid proposal, the government would end duplicate payments for disability and unemployment insurance. Reid would also cut the number of weeks of benefits offered to the long-term unemployed and add another year of sequestration.
But Senate Republicans have accused the Nevada Democrat of crafting the plan without their input and refusing to allow amendments to the package.
"We think we have some very constructive proposals that would make the bill better and would achieve bipartisan support," Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said Thursday. "But the majority leader today essentially shut down, not just Republicans, but his own party."
Carney sidestepped questions about whether Reid's actions had alienated Republicans by suggesting that the GOP was unwilling to say yes to their own idea, and invoking the 1.3 million Americans who lost their unemployment benefits late last year when lawmakers were unable to strike a deal.
"Republicans who said they wanted offsets for a longer-term extension of unemployment benefits, having been presented the offsets which they said they wanted, now are suggesting they won't vote for it," Carney said. "That's my concern for those families."