By Alexander Bolton - 12/07/11 06:19 PM EST
President Obama is not vacationing in Hawaii with his wife and children while the extension of the payroll tax holiday remains in limbo, and has warned GOP congressional leaders to stay in town as well.
Obama had planned to fly to Hawaii with his family on Dec. 17 and stay there through New Year’s.
Obama told Democratic leaders: “Michelle and the girls are going to have a great time in Hawaii, they don’t need me there,” according to Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.).
Romney blasted Obama’s vacation plans on Monday.
“I just think it’s time to have a president whose idea of being ‘hands on’ doesn’t mean getting a better grip on the golf club,” Romney told potential caucus voters in Iowa.
Obama told leaders it would be unacceptable if House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerRepublican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare The disorderly order of presidential succession MORE (R-Ohio) adjourned for Christmas next week without extending a 2-percentage point reduction of the payroll tax.
A White House official disputed the notion that Obama had altered his vacation plans because of Romney's criticism.
The official noted that Obama had already threatened to spend Christmas with Republicans in Washington if Congress failed to take action on payroll taxes.
“We’re going to keep pushing Congress to make this happen," Obama said Friday. "Now is not the time to slam the brakes on the recovery. Right now, it’s time to step on the gas. We need to get this done. And I expect that it’s going to get done before Congress leaves. Otherwise, Congress may not be leaving, and we can all spend Christmas here together.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday that he would be surprised if Congress left town for the Christmas break without extending the payroll tax rate.
"The president said himself quite explicitly that he, if necessary, will — I think the phrasing was, be here through Christmas," according to a press report.
—This story was last updated at 1:53 p.m.
More from The Hill
♦ Democrat says GOP trying to deny blacks the right to vote
♦ Obama back to 51 percent disapproval in latest Gallup polling
♦ On the ropes, GOP lawmakers seek counterpunch in fight over taxes
♦ House GOP to release payroll-tax-holiday proposal on Thursday
♦ Senate Dems slam door on Consumer Bureau overhaul
BoehnerJohn BoehnerRepublican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare The disorderly order of presidential succession MORE-against-cantor-mccarthy" mce_href="http://thehill.com/homenews/house/197695-tax-holiday-pits-boehner-against-cantor-mccarthy"> ♦ Tax holiday pits Boehner against Cantor, McCarthy
♦ White House doesn’t have votes for consumer bureau nominee