Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Sunday that, while he's hopeful an extension of unemployment benefits will pass the Senate, he railed against Republicans for refusing to pass the measure without offsets, lambasting the GOP for isolating Americans "desperate" and out of work.
"We have never offset emergency spending. That's foolishness," Reid told CNN's Alison Harding.
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Speaking after his appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation," Reid excoriated his Republican colleagues for playing politics with the livelihoods of unemployed Americans and quickly dismissed any notion that he would accede to GOP demands to offset the projected $26 billion cost of extending emergency benefits.
"The middle class is being squeezed out of existence," Reid said. "The American people want unemployment benefits extended. That’s it."
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner told CNN that the Republican leader will insist there be offsets before he agrees to extend long-term unemployment benefits.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, echoed Boehner's stance on ABC's "This Week."
"I'm opposed to having it without paying for it," Paul said. "I think it's wrong to borrow money from China or simply print up money for it."
Despite the vocal opposition, Reid remained confident he could scrounge the 60 votes required to clear the first procedural hurdle. The Senate plans to take up the measure when it returns from holiday recess Monday.
"There’s 55 of us, and there's 45 of them," Reid said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "It would seem to me that five Republicans in the Senate should agree with the Republicans around the country.
"Hopefully we can get four more Republicans," he said, after noting Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, had already defected from his caucus to support the measure.
Reid, however, indicated he could take extraordinary measures if his caucus is unable to sway Republicans to join him in voting on the issue. In 2013, the Nevada Democrat backed the so-called "nuclear option," a rules change that eliminated the filibuster for many presidential nominees. While he conceded that "we're not there yet," Reid would not rule out expanding the nuclear option to other procedural votes, like the forthcoming one on unemployment benefits.
"I'm not thinking about that today," he said.
Reid's words are in lock step with the White House's push to have long-term benefits extended. On CNN's "State of the Union," Gene Sperling, President Barack Obama's top economic adviser, warned that not passing the financial protections would hurt the country and hurt Republicans at the polls in 2014.
"We have never cut off emergency unemployment benefits when the unemployment rate is this high," Sperling said.
CNN's Susan Garraty contributed to this report.