Gene B. Sperling, President Obama’s top economic adviser, said the program was critical to addressing the lingering issue of unemployment, providing emergency assistance for 1.3 million people who are still looking for work.
“That requires a full-court press,” he said on the CNN program “State of the Union.” “It does require more bipartisan effort to create jobs.”
Appearing on two Sunday talk shows, Mr. Sperling continued the Obama administration’s push to restore the support system that provides up to 47 weeks of supplemental payments for unemployed Americans who are still looking for jobs, a program that had been in place since 2008 until it expired last month.
In his weekly address on Saturday, Mr. Obama promised to sign legislation extending emergency benefits, calling the lapse in support for struggling Americans “cruel” and warning that it would be a drag on the economy.
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said Sunday that the current proposal to renew emergency unemployment benefits for three months needed the support of at least four Republicans in addition to Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, who co-sponsored the bill, when the Senate returns on Monday.
Arguing that the majority of Americans support extending unemployment benefits, Mr. Reid called Republicans in Congress “out of touch.”
“Republicans around America want us to do something to extend these benefits,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Why? Because it’s good for the economy. It’s good for the country.”
House Republicans, including Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, have stipulated that any extension of unemployment benefits must be offset with spending cuts.
Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, said on the ABC program “This Week” that he did not object to extending unemployment insurance as long as it was fully funded and done in a way that stimulated job growth, such as through tax breaks for areas with high unemployment.
“I have always said that I’m not opposed to unemployment insurance,” he said. “I am opposed to having it without paying for it.”
Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, a top Democrat, said on ABC that Republicans should help restore unemployment benefits, especially with congressional races approaching at the end of the year.
“If they don’t, it’s going to be an election in 2014,” he said.