Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he hopes Congress can find some way to reach a deal to extend emergency unemployment benefits, but had no immediate ideas on how that could happen after a series of votes effectively shut down the Senate effort.
The Senate failed to find 60 senators to end debate on either an 11-month extension that's paid for with cuts in 2024, or a three-month extension that isn't paid for. Afterwards, Reid noted that he made a motion to reconsider the latter bill, in the hopes of somehow passing a three-month extension.
"That's why I did this, leaving the door open for us to work together to try to come up with something."
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the sponsor of legislation to extend the benefits, said he was disappointed that the Senate failed to find a way forward today.
"It is extremely urgent that we act, and today we failed to act," he said.
Despite Reid's hopefulness, it's now clear that Congress will not come anywhere close to extending unemployment benefits by the end of the week, when both the House and Senate will leave for a week for the Martin Luther King. Jr. holiday.
House Republican leaders have said they want the Senate to act first on unemployment, and that they would consider anything the Senate could pass. But some House Democrats have already indicated they will oppose adjourning for a week off until Congress takes some action on unemployment.
That threat could once again lead to a messy adjournment later this week, after Congress passes a 2014 funding bill.