The Washington Times - December 27, 2013, 10:22AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent, said the only way to get Republicans to support an unconditional extension to unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed is to motivate ordinary Americans to speak up.

“When the American people get involved and speak out, we are going to win this fight, and I believe that is what is going to happen,” he said Friday on MSNBC.

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Unemployment benefits for 1.3 million people will expire on Saturday after an extension was not included in the budget deal earlier this month. Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat, announced Thursday that he will introduce a 3-month, unpaid for extension when Congress returns in January, which Mr. Sanders said has is widely supported by Democrats.

Republicans say they can back an extension, but it must be paired with offsetting cuts to other programs, a condition Democrats and President Obama have resisted.

“From a moral perspective, from an economic perspective, we can’t turn our backs on struggling people who just can’t find work,” Mr. Sanders said.