December 05, 2011

Obama to GOP: Extend payroll tax cut

By David Jackson, USA TODAY
 President Obama urged congressional Republicans today to extend a soon-to-expire payroll tax cut, saying failure to do so will cost the average family about $1,000 next year and that nearly 160 million Americans overall will see their taxes rise.
"It's the right thing to do," Obama said at the White House, adding that higher payroll taxes will also slow economic recovery.

"Now is not the time to slam on the brakes," Obama said. "Now's the time to step on the gas."
Congressional Republicans said they too want to extend the payroll tax cuts, but also want to avoid an increase in the budget deficit. House Republicans also protest a Senate Democratic plan to finance the payroll tax cut extension with a tax surcharge on millionaires.
"If the President wants to make progress, he should insist that Senate Democrats remove the job-killing small business tax hike from their partisan proposal," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
At the White House, Obama said the GOP normally opposes tax hikes, and added: "How can you fight tooth and nail to protect high-end tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and yet barely lift a finger to prevent taxes going up for 160 million Americans who really need the help?"
The president also said the GOP should extend unemployment insurance before they recess for the Christmas holidays.

The payroll tax cut backed by both parties a year ago expires at the end of this month.
After Obama's brief remarks in the White House press room, his staff unveiled a countdown clock to the end of the year, saying middle class taxes will increase "if Congress doesn't act."
Republicans say they don't object to the payroll tax cut extension per se, but want to pay for it with offsetting budget cuts.
At the White House, Obama said Republicans have not always insisted on paying for tax cuts.
"So forgive me a little bit of a confusion when I hear folks insisting on tax cuts being paid for," Obama said.

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