Dec. 20 - U.S. President Obama and the leadership in the House battle over terms for extending the payroll tax cut. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
U.S. President Barack Obama is demanding that Republicans pass a bill to extend the payroll tax cut, warning lawmakers that without action, taxes on American households would go up. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "The clock is ticking. Time is running out. And if the House Republicans refuse to vote for the Senate bill, or even allow it to come up for a vote, taxes will go up in 11 days." Obama made a a surprise visit in the White House briefing room shortly after the House rejected a short-term tax deal passed by the Senate. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "I saw today that one of the House Republicans referred to what they are doing as quote, 'high stakes poker.' He's right about the stakes but this is not poker. This is not a game. This shouldn't be politics as usual. Right now the recovery is fragile, but it is moving in the right direction. Our failure to do this could have effects not just on families but on the economy as a whole." The tax break saves the average American worker about $1,000 a year. House Republicans say they want to negotiate for a full year extension of the tax break, not just the two month stop-gap measure approved by the Senate. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER, SAYING: "The next step is clear. I think President Obama needs to call on Senate Democrats to go back into session, move to get a conference, and to sit down and resolve this bill as quickly as possible." Both parties believe they have the upper hand in the year-end battle. Republicans are betting that Democrats fear a voter backlash in 2012, if the tax break expires. Democrats, however, are gambling that the same is true for Republicans. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters