(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate delayed a vote on extending unemployment benefits until Tuesday because snow delayed many senators' flights back to Washington. Democrats are looking for just a three-month extension to help more than a million people who have spent more than six months out of work. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I. said people on long-term unemployment haven't given up their job search.
"They are looking because they desperately need work," he said Monday, adding that the issue is not about partisan differences.
"It's not a red state, blue state issue, it's something that impacts this entire country," Reed said.
But many Republicans, including Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, agree they need continued unemployment checks -- they just want Democrats to cut something out of the budget to pay for them.
"That's a huge sum of money," Sessions said. "We do not need to pass any more laws that increase the amount of money we borrow."
White House Economic Advisor Gene Sperling Monday urged Congress to approve the measure, which would allow for more time to negotiate a long-term solution regarding benefits for the unemployed.
“Today is the day that 1.3 million Americans start going to their mailbox and find that the check that they expected to get today is not there, the check that is a temporary lifeline for families who are facing long-term unemployment, a check that puts food on their table and perhaps the gas in their car they need to drive to interview for a new job,” Sperling said. “This will help Americans immediately, and this will give us more time to have a larger conversation about what happens after the three months are over.”
Sperling said he has been in contact with Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., co-sponsor of the legislation, about the measure, but he would not say whether there are enough Republicans to help the measure pass the extension.
“I'm not here to predict. I'm here to tell you it should pass,” Sperling said.
The proposal faces an uphill climb ahead of Tuesday's vote. It needs 60 votes for approval.
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