Obama: Congress should prevent payroll tax hike before vacation

President Obama on Thursday urged Congress — once again — to extend the payroll tax holiday and unemployment insurance before they leave town for the holidays.

"This Congress cannot or should not leave for vacation until they have made sure that that tax increase doesn't happen," Obama said at the White House, before announcing an administrative action that would provide minimum wage and overtime protections for about 2 million in-home care workers.

"Right now Congress needs to make sure than 160 million working Americans don't see their taxes go up on Jan. 1," he said. "None of the workers who join us here today can afford a thousand-dollar tax increase next year. ... It wouldn't be good for the economy."

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Obama said there's "no reason" why the government shouldn't be able to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance before the holidays.

He also added that there's "no reason the government should shut down over this."

"I would expect all of do what's necessary," the president said.

Obama said the administrative action he is putting into place for the home care workers would ensure that more than 1 million men and women "don't slip through the cracks."

"We're going to do what's fair. We're going to do what's right," he said. "Americans all deserve a fair shake and a fair shot.

During the White House briefing on Thursday, spokesman Jay Carney said Obama was "making clear what his position is" during his earlier statement.

"He is insisting that Congress do its work," Carney said.

Carney added that there are "ongoing" conversations happening on Capitol Hill.

"It should be able to get done," Carney said, adding that Congress should take care of both the spending bill and the extension of the payroll tax.

Carney said the White House is "certainly encouraged" by signs of willingness shown by lawmakers.

— This story was updated at 1:36 p.m.