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McCaskill Notes the "Irony" of GOP Stance on Tax Cuts

In a joint appearance on Sunday's "Face the Nation," Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) hinted Congress may be close to a compromise on extending Bush-era tax cuts that includes extending unemployment benefits in the same package.

"I think that most folks believe that the recipe would include at least an extension of unemployment benefits for those who are unemployed and an extension of all of the tax rates for all Americans for some period of time," Kyl told CBS News chief White House correspondent Bob Schieffer.

On the red carpet at the Kennedy Center Honors later that evening, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) shared her colleagues' sense of urgency.

"That has to be done," McCaskill said of extending unemployment benefits. "The irony is Jon Kyl wants us to give a bonus to multi-millionaires and wants us to pay for the unemployment benefits but wants to put [the tax cuts] on the credit card. Go figure."

McCaskill told CBS News she was "hopeful" Democrats would be able to keep tax cuts "in place for the middle class in this country."

"I'm frustrated the Republicans are holding the middle class hostage for really added tax bonuses for millionaires that we really can't afford right now with our deficit," McCaskill said. "It would be nice if they came to their senses."

Regarding other issues Congress faces, McCaskill said she hoped the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy would be repealed, but wasn't sure that could get done in the lame duck session.

The senator was more optimistic for the passage of the START nuclear arms treaty between the U.S. and Russia.

"I think the Republican Party is playing fast and loose with national security when they're refusing to take up START until they get their tax cuts for billionaires and millionaires."

McCaskill, who has a strong following on Twitter, told CBS News she would tweet from inside the Kennedy Center Honors. "It's just hard because so many people are jealous of the opportunity to come here. It's such a special night."

Watch McCaskill's full remarks to CBS News that aired on "Washington Unplugged" in the video to the left.

Monday's "Washington Unplugged" also featured Politico's David Mark and Barbara Kennelly from the Association of Former Members of Congress, as well as interviews with Kennedy Center Honorees Sir Paul McCartney and Oprah.

"Washington Unplugged" airs live daily at 12:30 p.m. ET on CBSNews.com.


Christine Delargy is an associate producer for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. For more of Washington Unplugged, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.