Huffpost Politics

Obama Urges Congress To Extend Payroll Tax Cut (VIDEO)

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama pressured Republicans in Congress on Monday to extend a payroll tax cut, saying the economic recovery is "still fragile" and middle class families need the money.

"My message to Congress is this: Keep your word to the American people and don't raise taxes on them right now. Now's not the time to slam on the brakes. Now's the time to step on the gas," Obama said at the White House. He said despite a decline in the unemployment rate to 8.6 percent in November, "our recovery is still fragile" and the nation's economy could be hurt by economic turbulence in Europe.

The president has been seeking an extension and expansion to the payroll tax cut that will expire at the end of the year. The White House says taxes on the average family would increase by $1,000 if the cuts are not extended.

To make its point, the White House went so far as to put up a countdown clock during spokesman Jay Carney's briefing to show when middle-class taxes would go up "if Congress doesn't act."

Some Republicans in Congress support the extension but the parties have been split on how to pay for it. Obama noted that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell have expressed support for the extension, adding, "I hope the rest of their Republican colleagues come around."

Brendan Buck, a Boehner spokesman, said there was widespread support for extending the payroll tax cuts but 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."

Senate Democrats have rolled out a compromise that would drop Obama's proposal to award the tax cut to employers, bringing the cost of the plan down.

Obama also said for Congress to end its work this year without extending unemployment insurance would be a "terrible mistake" and leave "1.3 million Americans out in the cold."

The White House has called for an extension of benefits that can cover up to 99 weeks for the long-term jobless. State unemployment insurance programs guarantees coverage for six months, but Congress approved additional benefits in 2008. Expiration of those payments would mean an average loss of nearly $300 in weekly income for more than 1 million households in January.

Around the Web

Obama to GOP: Extend payroll tax cut

Obama makes case for extending payroll tax cuts

Obama to Congress: Extend a payroll tax cut

Obama makes case for extending payroll tax cuts

Democratic officials: Senate to drop plan to award payroll tax cut to employers

Obama urges GOP to extend payroll tax cut

Obama pressures Congress to extend payroll tax cut, says economic recovery ...

Next moves unclear on payroll tax cut extension

Obama Urges Congress to Extend Payroll Tax Cuts | USA | English

Manchester: Obama: Extend payroll tax cuts | Concord Monitor

Obama urges payroll tax cut extension, Senate Republicans push ...

Obama urges payroll tax cut extension - Yahoo! News

Obama pushes to extend payroll tax cut into 2012; GOP promotes ...

Obama pushes for extension of payroll-tax cut - Washington Times

Obama Pushes GOP to Extend Payroll Tax Cuts - YouTube