Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Sunday pressed Republicans to support a three-month extension of emergency longer-term unemployment benefits, something Republicans say they could support only if Democrats find a way to pay for it.

The Senate is due to vote tomorrow to advance a bill sponsored by Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Republican Dean Heller of Nevada, though it's unclear the legislation has the votes to pass. In addition to Heller, Reid would need four more Republican votes for the bill to get Senate approval.

"Never with unemployment like this have we even considered not extending them," Reid, of Nevada, said on CBS's "Face the Nation" program. Benefits for the long-term unemployed expired on Dec. 28. The program was intended to help jobless people after they exhausted state benefits, typically lasting six months.

In addition to focusing on the need to help struggling job seekers and their families, Democrats are saying the extension will buffer the economy since the jobless will immediately pour the money into purchases of goods and services. "The gross domestic product would be increased by $23 billion," said Reid. "It's the right thing to do."

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