Reid: When GOP senators ‘stop complaining’ we’re ready to work

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) chided Republicans for complaining about the state of the Senate rather than working with Democrats to help the jobless.

“Whenever my Republican colleagues are prepared to stop complaining and work with Democrats for solutions, we will be here waiting,” Reid said on the Senate floor Thursday. “These families can’t wait any longer for relief.”

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The Senate is working to extend long-term unemployment insurance to help the 1.3 million people who lose the benefit on Dec. 28. Democrats have put forward a three-month extension that isn’t paid for, but Republicans have said the bill needs to be offset.

Republicans have spent part of the week complaining about Reid not allowing amendment votes and has changing the Senate for the worse by limiting minority party rights.

Reid criticized Republicans for not being more compassionate, pointing out that House Republican leaders sent out a memo to their caucus reminding them to be sympathetic to the jobless.

“House Republican Leaders were forced to send a message to their members to be compassionate,” Reid said. “Can you imagine having to remind senators to be compassionate about people who are unemployed?”

Reid said he was open to hearing Republican suggestions on how to pay for a one-year extension of unemployment benefits, which would cost $25 billion. But Reid dismissed several of the GOP suggestions so far, such as delaying the implementation of ObamaCare.

On Wednesday, Reid delayed a procedural vote on the three-month extension to allow lawmakers to negotiate a long-term solution that is fully paid for.