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Sen. Reid open to jobless aid offset

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday he is open to finding an offset to pay for extending unemployment benefits through 2014.

Republicans hailed Reid’s remarks as a significant development in the battle over unemployment assistance that has dominated the start of the year, but Reid suggested it will be difficult to find an offset that both parties can agree upon.

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“Sen. [Mitch] McConnell [(R-Ky.)] says he wants to pay for extending for these unemployment benefits ... by whacking ObamaCare. That’s a non-starter,” Reid told reporters. “If they come with something that’s serious, I’ll talk to them.
“But right now they should understand the low-hanging fruit is gone. We’ve scavenged every place we can go,” he said.

Reid said White House chief of staff Denis McDonough will review possible offsets but emphasized the emphasis should be on Republicans to find a pay-for because they have insisted on not adding to the deficit.

“I talked to Denis McDonough before I came to the caucus — the president’s chief of staff — he said they’ll run the traps on this. It’s really hard to find anything,” Reid said.

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