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Dem senator: Reid should drop ‘combative’ rhetoric on payroll tax debate

"I think if I were going to critique Harry Reid this morning, I really wish we would stop with this 'dead on arrival, not going to go there' and begin to have language like, ‘we're going to take a look at it and see if there's anything that we can agree on here and over the next couple of days try to come to an agreement," said McCaskill on MSNBC's "Daily Rundown" Wednesday.

"That's what's really going to happen, and I don't know why this place is so set on, you know, looking like we're combative all the time," she added.

The House on Tuesday afternoon approved legislation that extends the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits, but includes several provisions that Democrats vigorously oppose.

Reid called the House passed bill “dead on arrival” on the Senate floor Tuesday.

“It was dead before it got to the Senate. The Senate will not pass it. The sooner we demonstrate, that the sooner we can begin serious discussion on how to keep taxes from going up for middle-class Americans," Reid said.

McCaskill lamented the gridlock in Congress caused by partisan divides and said she believes a change in rhetoric would help both sides of the aisle reach a compromise.

"We've got to quit this kind of posturing that tells the American people we'd rather fight than get along," McCaskill said.

The Missouri senator slammed Republicans for adding measures to the payroll bill that she considers extraneous to the central goal of the legislation, such as language that would fast-track an administration decision on the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

"They've got all kind of stuff in this thing that is really bizarre to me … I think we ought to get to work, find what we can agree on, get this thing done," she said.

McCaskill said the pipeline approval was sidelined not because lawmakers opposed it, but because the state of Nebraska had concerns about the project.

"You know these guys [Republicans] are so convenient about hollering about states rights until it's actually in practice, and I think the reason we have to slow down on the pipeline is not that anybody is saying the pipeline shouldn't happen, but we have to respect the rights of Nebraska," McCaskill said.

However, she told MSNBC that while she thinks including the pipeline in the tax holiday bill is inappropriate, she would not rule out supporting the proposal.

"I would certainly take a look at it if states rights are being protected," McCaskill said.

McCaskill was adamant in her support for extending the payroll tax holiday.

"While I'm perfectly willing to raise taxes a smidge on multi-millionaires I'll be gosh-darned if I think it's a good idea to raise taxes on people working as hard as they know how right now and barely making it work and I just think it's the wrong time to raise taxes on the people who need it the most," she said.