GOP debate: Candidates split on extension of the payroll tax cut

Contenders for the Republican presidential nomination are split on an extension of the payroll tax cut, which is dominating the conversation in Congress right now.

During the GOP debate on Saturday night, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul all expressed support for providing another yearlong break for taxpayers although the former governor of Massachusetts took the opportunity to launch into an attack on the Obama administration's economic policies.

"The payroll tax cut will help people," Romney said. "But it's just a band-aid."

ADVERTISEMENT
He added, "This is a president who has not put forward a plan to get this economy going again."

The tax cut expires at the end of the month and Obama has traveled around the country promoting the need for its extension to bolster the slowly recovering economy by putting extra cash into the pockets of middle-class taxpayers. The tax cut extension is a main tenet of President Obama's jobs plan.

"This president has made America a less attractive place for investing and hiring than other places in the world that's got to change," Romney said.

"It's a shame we've got a president who thinks that being hands on is working on his golf grip," he said.

"The right course for America is a president who understands the economy and will make that his focus and put in place a plan to get his economy going."

Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), who remains opposed to an extension, said the payroll tax "shouldn't have been put in in the first place."

The former tax attorney called the extension a "gimmick" that makes the Social Security Trust fund more vulnerable.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) backs a plan to extend the payroll tax cut but wants to pay for it, which is part of a House Republican plan introduced on Friday. 

That measure extends for one year the 4.2 percent rate for the payroll tax enacted in 2010, down from its regular 6.2 percent rate.