The HillTube

Obama on payroll tax: Here they go again

President Obama warned Saturday that Congress needs to avoid another political stalemate over extending the payroll tax holiday.

A short-term extension extending the payroll tax holiday, emergency unemployment benefits and a hike in Medicare doctor payments was passed in December after a tense political battle, which ended when House Republicans caved. That extension expires March 1, and Republicans and Democrats have not yet agreed to a year-long extension.

ADVERTISEMENT
"Now, if this sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve been here before; back in December, Congress faced this exact same predicament," Obama said in his weekly address. "We can’t go through that again."

The congressional battle lines over the extension are similar to the last fight. Republicans say that Democrats have not come up with a good way to offset the cost of the tax breaks, and Democrats accuse Republicans of drawing out the battle to hurt the president.

Obama said in his address that he wanted "no drama" over the payroll tax.

"Now is not the time for self-inflicted wounds to our recovery," he said. "Now is the time for common-sense action. And this tax cut is common-sense."

The president, as he as done on multiple occasions in the last year, urged Americans to contact their representatives in Congress to help push through an agreement.

"I hope you’ll pick up the phone, send a tweet, write an email, and tell your representative that they should get this done before it gets too late," he said. "Tell them not to manufacture another needless standoff or crisis."