By Amie Parnes - 12/22/11 06:34 PM EST
Saying "enough is enough" and calling Washington "dysfunctional," President Obama on Thursday urged Republicans in the House to pass a bipartisan Senate compromise that would extend the payroll tax holiday for two months.
"What's happening right now is exactly why people get so frustrated with Washington," Obama said, standing before a room of Democratic stakeholders. "Has this place become so dysfunctional that even when people agree to things, we can't do it?"
"Why not make it sooner rather than later?" he asked.
He blamed a faction of House Republicans for holding up the bill.
"This is about people," he said. "This is about the American people and whether they win. It's not about a contest between politicians."
Obama said nearly 30,000 people have written in so far to complain about the hold-up and said those people "should remind every single member of Congress what's at stake in this debate."
While the economy has improved, the president said, "there's still a lot of uncertainty out there," not just in the U.S., but around the world.
The tax extension, he continued,"is insurance to make sure that our recovery continues."
Obama has refused to budge in the tax fight since the Senate passed a bipartisan compromise on Saturday, but so has the Republican majority in the House.
In phone conversations with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday and Thursday, Obama told the Speaker that the only viable option on the table is for the House to pass the Senate compromise, which received the support of 89 senators.
According to a White House readout of the conversation, Obama told Boehner he is “committed” to working on a one-year deal once the House passes the Senate compromise.
Boehner and other GOP leaders gave no indication that the House would accede to demands from across the government that they accept a bipartisan Senate compromise and go home for the holidays. The House GOP wants to pass a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut without a temporary extension.
“It’s time for us to sit down and have a serious negotiation and solve this problem so that American workers don’t see their taxes go up in January,” Boehner said at a Thursday news conference convened with the eight Republicans he appointed as negotiators.
Thursday morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) urged House Republicans to pass the Senate's two-month extension.
Earlier in the week, in a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room, he urged House Republicans to “put politics aside” and support the two-month extension, saying it was the only way to prevent a tax hike.
“This is not poker, this is not a game,” Obama said on Tuesday. “Let’s not play brinksmanship. The American people are weary of it. They’re tired of it. They expect better.”
This post was updated at 1:45 p.m.