Obama Pushes Payroll Tax Cut Extension

President Barack Obama wants voters to get involved in the debate over extending the payroll tax holiday, and he's asking them to tell members of Congress to keep the tax cut in place.

"Let your members of Congress know where you stand," Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address. "Tell them not to vote to raise taxes on working Americans during the holidays. Tell them to put country before party. Put money back in the pockets of working Americans. Pass these tax cuts."

Obama's address directs listeners to the whitehouse.gov website, where an online calculator lets them determine how much money it's worth to them to continue the 2 percent reduction in the payroll tax that took effect this year. A family with income of $50,000 a year would pay $1,000 more in payroll taxes if Congress does not act by the end of this year to extend that reduction.

Democrats want to expand the reduction in addition to extending it. Republican leaders say they're committed to passing an extension, fearing political fallout if payroll taxes rise on Jan. 1 on 160 million wage-earners, but the GOP rank-and-file appears divided, with many Republican senators voting against an extension supported by their leadership this week.

There's also disagreement about how -- or whether -- to pay for any extension, with Democrats favoring a new tax on millionaires and Republicans preferring to cut federal spending.

"We're going to keep pushing Congress to make this happen. They shouldn't go home for the holidays until they get this done," Obama said Saturday. "And if you agree with me, I could use your help."

Obama also took note of a new monthly jobs report out Friday that showed the economy added 120,000 jobs in November, a positive number. "We need to keep this growth going and strengthen it," the president said.

Republicans devoted their weekly address to promoting a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, which is headed for a vote in the Senate after failing in the House last month.

Democratic leaders worked aggressively to defeat the measure in the House, saying that such a requirement could force Congress to cut billions from social programs during times of economic downturn and that disputes over what to cut could result in Congress ceding its power of the purse to the courts. The result was that the amendment got majority support but fell short of the two-thirds needed to advance a constitutional amendment.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, argued Saturday that "the impending vote to amend the Constitution represents a choice between changing business as usual in Washington or embracing the status quo that we can no longer afford."

"The real reason many lawmakers don't want a balanced budget amendment is the exact reason why it's so essential," Snowe said. "They don't want their hands tied; they want to continue to spend without restraint."

Like Obama, she asked listeners to make their views known.

"Contact your senators and urge them to support our balanced budget amendment," Snowe said, "so that we finally seize the fiscal reins and reclaim our future for our children and our grandchildren."


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by me Location: Bayboro on Dec 3, 2011 at 12:59 PM
    Obama wants one thing. Votes. So vote him out. He will give away all the tax payers money to get a vote.
    • reply
      by W hat ? on Dec 3, 2011 at 04:55 PM in reply to me
      Your post has nothing to do with the subject. Now tell us why you think it is OK that your taxes be increased along with all the middle class, and the wealthy get a another free ride.
  • by ben Location: Kinston on Dec 3, 2011 at 08:36 AM
    This presidend who pretends to be such a champion for the average American is nothing but a pretender and a liar. Dogs are considered unclean by Muslims and are not allowed to travel in the same vehicles as Muslims. When the Obamas vacationed in Maine their dog (BO) was flown in on a separate plane with his handler, Reggie Love. His handler makes $102,000.00 per year. You can find this information on Google. It's time everyone recognizes we have a dishonest Muslim president who is trying his level best to cause the economis collapse of the United States. He uses every opportunity to spend more and more money, half of it borrowed from the Chinese.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 3, 2011 at 04:53 PM in reply to ben
      Oh my Gosh, another Birther!
  • by Barlow Location: Winterville on Dec 3, 2011 at 06:42 AM
    There are a couple of Republicans coming around now, understanding they cannot keep protecting the rich at the expense of the middle class and poor. If throwing 200,000 people out in the street is the Republican idea of decreasing unemployment, I can see why there "job creators" have not been so effective either. If they want to cut federal spending, $19.6 billion was spent on the military last year, 43 per cent of the global total in military spending, and 6 times what the Chinese spent. Lots of room to cut without ruining any lives in the process.
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