Obama signs payroll tax cut extension

President Obama signed the payroll tax cut extension and a continuation of unemployment benifits Wednesday evening after receiving the legislation from Congress, the capstone on a legislative victory for the president and Democrats.

The signing came a day after the president held a signing ceremony — but did not actually sign the bill — at the White House. The signing was delayed because the bill had not formally come down from Capitol Hill. At that event, the president said "Congress did the right thing here" and heralded the legislation as "a big deal" to American families.

"In the end, everyone acted in the interests of the middle class, and people who are striving to get into the middle class through hard work.  And that’s how it should be.  That’s what Americans expect, and that’s what Americans deserve," Obama said.

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The payroll tax cut was due to expire at the end of the month, but congressional Republicans agreed to extend the holiday throughout 2012 without spending offsets after mounting political pressure from Democrats.

The measure is expected to cost $143 billion, and also includes provisions to avoid a cut in reimbursements to doctors for treating patients with Medicare insurance.

At the event Tuesday, the president credited supporters who urged Congress to act. The White House prompted supporters to use social media to explain what the average of $40 per paycheck meant to their families.

"This got done because of you; because you called, you emailed, you tweeted your representatives and you demanded action.  You made it clear that you wanted to see some common sense in Washington," Obama said.

The president also called on Congress to adopt other aspects of his jobs plan, including his proposed Buffet Rule to ensure millionaires would pay a tax rate of at least 30 percent and a plan that would allow homeowners to refinance their mortgages.

"Keep taking the action that people are calling for to keep this economy growing.  This may be an election year, but the American people have no patience for gridlock and just a reflexive partisanship, and just paying attention to poll numbers and the next election instead of the next generation and what we can do to strengthen opportunity for all Americans," Obama said.

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