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Obama Presses for FICA Tax Cut Extension

December 6, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama is again urging opposition Republicans to extend a payroll tax cut set to expire at the end of this year.

President Barack Obama delivers a statement, White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 12/5/11

In comments at the White House Monday, President Obama said the economy is “still fragile” and that extending the tax cut is important not just for the economy as a whole, but for individual families. Mr. Obama also pointed to recent comments by Republican leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives about the importance of renewing the cuts, and urged them to support the extension.

Congress has started debate on extending the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits, but Democratic and Republican lawmakers have so far been unable to reach an agreement. The Senate last week rejected Mr. Obama's plan, as well as a competing Republican proposal.

Some Republicans have questioned the cost of the tax cut, and whether it actually helps the economy.

Meanwhile, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has formally announced a scaled-back version of the Democratic bill that failed to pass the Senate last week. Reid says it will be fully paid for with a mixture of spending cuts Republicans have already agreed to and a small surtax on the wealthiest Americans.

The payroll tax cut benefits 160 million American workers. The tax cut was worth about $1,000 to the typical worker this year, but without an extension, their taxes would increase in January.

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