"It's very clear there is a bitter division in the House, among House Republicans," said Reid. "As you know they were supposed to send us a bill today, or was it yesterday? They finally acknowledged they couldn't send anything."

Although the House was expected to clear a version of the tax extension earlier in the week, it became clear on Tuesday evening that leadership lacked the votes to move the measure. Some Republicans have expressed reluctance to clear President Obama's landmark issue and hope to exact a greater price, possibly in the form of some entitlement reform, in exchange for giving the White House a victory.

The Senate, meanwhile, has defeated a Republican and Democratic version of the extension bill and is expected to defeat a third version, offered by Reid on Thursday or Friday. Republicans dislike that version of the legislation because it levies a surtax on wealthy Americans.

Regardless, Reid went on to lecture GOP lawmakers on their options, suggesting they join Democrats to forge a compromise.

"It seems to me, that faced with this rebellion Republican leaders have two options," said Reid. "They can work with us to forge a compromise that will pass or they can move even further to the right to appease the Tea Party. Because that’s what this is all about.