By Vicki Needham - 01/16/14 12:50 PM EST
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid flatly rejected on Thursday Republican arguments that he deliberately let a renewal of federal jobless benefits fail to score political points.
Reid said it is "asinine" to even suggest that he wanted the unemployment benefits bill to fail as part of an effort to boost Democratic election hopes this year.
Democrats argue that 70,000 more people who have been out of work for at least six months are being added to the rolls each week.
Senate Democratic leaders vowed on Thursday to bring the issue back up for a vote after they return from a weeklong break.
"We believe in the program and we will continue to work on it," Reid told reporters.
The Nevada Democrat argued that at 9 percent, his home state has one of the highest jobless rates in country, matched only by Rhode Island.
"These are people I know who can't find work," Reid said.
He argued that Republicans are employing a broad swath of reasons why they won't help pass a bill because "I'm mean to them" or "they don't like the pay-for."
"Their excuses have run out," he said.
Democrats and Republicans have offered up several different offsets to cover the cost of the bill.
The Senate failed to move forward Tuesday on Reid's 11-month proposal that was fully paid and a base bill that extended the benefits for three months at a $6.4 billion cost but wasn't offset with other spending cuts.
Republicans say Reid rejected their offsets on a three-month bill that includes increasing sequester cuts through 2023.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that plan would "undo" the budget deal reached last year.
Members of both parties have said they will continue to seek out a compromise that can help those struggling to find work.