Obama pushes for payroll extensions
November 30th, 2011
04:10 PM ET

Obama pushes for payroll extensions

Scranton, Pennsylvania (CNN) - President Obama brought his two month-long jobs push to Scranton, Pennsylvania Wednesday, pleading with members of Congress back in Washington to extend the payroll tax holiday that he claims will save the average family $1,500 next year.

“Let’s be clear, if they vote no, your taxes go up,” Obama told an enthusiastic crowd at Scranton High School.  “If they vote yes, you get a tax cut.  Which way do you think Congress should vote?”

The payroll extension holiday is among the final components of the president’s larger jobs bill the Congress has yet to formally consider.  Nearly every other measure Obama proposed in the $447 billion bill earlier this fall has been held up by Republicans - and in some cases Democrats - wary of increasing the country’s ballooning deficit or raising taxes on any income brackets. 

The White House, that long suspected many of the president’s proposals would meet opposition in Congress, has jumped at the opportunity to campaign against Washington in the months before the presidential campaign kicks into full gear. 

“Folks in Washington don’t seem to be getting the message,” the president also said in the 20 minute-speech in which he largely railed against congressional Republicans.  

Unlike several of the president’s previous jobs-related measures, extending the payroll tax holiday appears to be attracting wider bipartisan support.  But as Obama addressed a packed high school gym, Democrats and Republicans wrestled over how the tax break’s $200 billion plus tab would be paid for. 

Democrats are said to be considering applying war savings from the drawdown of U.S. military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, though some budget experts consider that proposal to be disingenuous since those savings are going to be realized regardless.

Meanwhile, the president has proposed a tax increase on wages over $1 million to foot the bill, a proposal that has long been a non-starter with Republicans.

"What we’ve said is let’s see the folks whose incomes have risen fastest, let’s ask them to help out a little bit,” Obama said to cheers.

The White House on Tuesday didn't explicitly rule out a veto if Congress fails to pay for them. "We don't know what the endgame is yet," said spokesman Jay Carney during a press briefing.

CNNMoney’s Jeanne Sahadi contributed to this report

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. John Hancock 3rd

    everyone needs to help in bringing america back to the top i'm willing to do what i can and everyone else should feel the same way my father sold a house for 211,000dollars and i didnt receive a penny it was for him and to better the county

    November 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • John

      What kind of statement is this? People are having issues putting food on their tables. This administration doesn't want to bring back America – they want to "change" America. All we need to know is that the Dems are simply writing off working class Americans and labeling us as the "bad people who only worry about making money".

      December 1, 2011 at 8:52 am |
  2. MTATL67

    Congressional Republican screamed and yelled "No increase in revenue". They screamed and yelled "Cut spending" but now they want to increase taxes (End payroll) and keep spending (military). It appears that they are continuing to pursue the obstructionist agenda started by Sen. McConnell, thinking it will help them politically.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • John

      Unemployment "unexpectedly rose" to 402,000 – why would anyone want obstruct what this administration is doing?

      December 1, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • jean2009

      They want to end tax breaks for working families...all the while they do not want to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest top percent. What a bunch of GOP Greedy Ole Pigs.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  3. sara

    BREAKING NEWS: The republicans are in agreement to extending the payroll taxes for Working Americans, but they wants to pay for This tax cut before voting on it with the Elimination of federal employees in some segment of our government Just before the holidays and further driving up the unemployment rate! They would rather lay off workers in this economy than to tax the billionaires. It seems that ALL of us have to give a little to help pull our country up again. What part of this does the republicans NOT get? Think it's time to March on Congress.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • John

      If you tax people who own businesses and hire people the result is layoffs.

      December 1, 2011 at 8:47 am |
      • PC0909

        Either that, or the businesses pass the cost on to the consumer. Either way, the middle class gets screwed.

        December 4, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
  4. Howard

    Verified by Snopes. . .

    Chilling Letter from Procter & Gamble to Obama.
    Who would have thought, and yet many are thinking it.

    By Lou Pritchett, Procter & Gamble


    Lou Pritchett is one of corporate America’s true living legends – an acclaimed author, dynamic teacher and one of the world's highest rated speakers. Successful corporate executives everywhere recognize him as the foremost leader in change management. Lou changed the way America does business by creating an audacious concept that came to be known as "partnering." Pritchett rose from soap salesman to Vice-President, Sales and Customer Development for Procter and Gamble and over the course of 36 years, made corporate history.


    You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.

    You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.

    You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.

    You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.

    You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.

    You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don’t understand it at its core.

    You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others.

    You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.

    You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America ’ crowd and deliver this message abroad.

    You scare me because you want to change America to a European style Country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.

    You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.

    You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.

    You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose That lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.

    You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations.

    You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.

    You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.

    You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.

    You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.

    You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaugh’s, Hannitys, O'Reillys and Becks who offer opposing, Conservative points of view.

    You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

    Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will Probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

    Lou Pritchett
    This letter was sent to the NY Times but they never acknowledged it.
    Big surprise. Since it hit the Internet, however, it has had over 500,000 hits.

    November 30, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • jean2009

      Lou Pritchett is a ruthless greedy old pig...who supports a right wing agenda that agrees with slave labor, no benefits and no health care for workers.....Nothing new here Howard but your idiotic cut and paste.

      Now, that type conservative thinking scares everyone.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  5. Emperor Norton

    That's adorable, Howard. Now we don't have to wait for our crazy, right-wing aunts, uncles, and grandparents to send us silly neoconservative chain letters; we can just wait for people like you to post it here.

    If you honestly think a single line of that can pass for incisive commentary, you're beyond help.

    By the way, John, you're complaining that Obama is "writing off working-class Americans" while you're posting in the comments of a blog post about how Obama is pushing for a payroll extension that specifically benefits... working-class Americans. Do either of you seriously read anything, or are you just working off of whatever lets you be scared of Democrats?

    December 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm |