Obama urges payroll tax cut extension, Senate Republicans push balanced budget amendment
December 3rd, 2011
06:00 AM ET
2 years ago

Obama urges payroll tax cut extension, Senate Republicans push balanced budget amendment

(CNN) – President Barack Obama called on Congress Saturday to extend the payroll tax cut, warning a failure to do so would take away a tax break of about $1,000 for middle-class families.

"We can't let that happen," he said in his weekly address. "In fact, I think we should cut taxes on working families and small business owners even more."

Republicans and Democrats have been trying to hammer out a plan in the Senate this week to pay for the tax cut extension, but have yet to reach a compromise.

Proposed plans from both parties failed to pass the Senate Thursday night, leaving lawmakers to tackle new proposals in the coming days.

"We're going to keep pushing Congress to make this happen," Obama said. "They shouldn't go home for the holidays until they get this done."

Obama pointed listeners to the White House website, which has a calculator that estimates how the payroll tax cut would affect families, and urged people to contact their representatives in Congress.

"Tell them not to vote to raise taxes on working Americans during the holidays. Tell them to put country before party," he said. "Put money back in the pockets of working Americans. Pass these tax cuts."

Meanwhile, Republicans called on Congress this week to pass another upcoming vote in the Senate: a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

The proposal has been a major talking point this year among conservative Republicans, who claim the amendment would help fix the nation's spiraling federal deficit and help get the economy back on its feet.

The GOP-controlled House voted on the bill last month, but the measure failed to win enough support to pass.

In this week's Republican address, however, Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine called on her colleagues in the Senate to pass the bill.

"Let's be clear. The impending vote to amend the Constitution represents a choice between changing business as usual in Washington, or embracing the status quo that we can no longer afford," she said.

Snowe argued that opponents of the amendment simply don't want to have "their hands tied" when it comes to addressing the nation's debt, which recently passed the $15 trillion mark.

"Let me suggest there are 15 trillion reasons to prove them wrong. Fifteen trillion reasons to make a stand. Fifteen trillion reasons to contact your senators and urge them to support our balanced budget amendment," she said. "So that we finally seize the fiscal reins, and reclaim our future for our children and our grandchildren."


Filed under: Budget • Olympia Snowe • President Obama • Republicans • Senate • Taxes
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. maggie

    Republicans can start their balanced budget amendment by doing away with Bush tax cuts that were never paid for.

    December 3, 2011 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  2. Karen F.

    Looks like there might be a new plan to "pay for" payroll tax cuts...unemployed workers have to volunteer (that's work for no pay) in order to receive UI benefits. Just saw this on the Don Lemon CNN show. Sounds like an interesting idea? Sounds like slavery to me. When will the direct connection between having had to have worked AND contributed to the UI fund of your state be understood. UI is not welfare. Look, think of it a kind of annuity. Workers and employers pay contribute and they contribute as long as employment continues, not for 26 weeks, not for 52 weeks, not for 99 weeks.
    Forcing the unemployed to volunteer (read forced free labor...what is that? see slavery.) Does this brilliant plan take into effect the dad who is at home caring for the kids while mom is working because daycare is now beyond their means? Who pays for the cost of tranportation to this "workplace?" Is the volunteer covered if hurt on the job? THIS IS getting very scary folks! We have got to stop swallowing sound bytes and learn to THINK things THROUGH!

    December 3, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  3. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    If the GOBP deathcult was serious about balancing the budget, it wouldn't have ignored the "pay as you go" rules that had been in effect for a while. That is the real reason things are so bad. And if the GOBP had any sort of self-restraint, there would be no need for a BBA because the Bush wars and Bush tax cuts would have been paid for. This is all another sneaky deathcult game of "screw up governing, then claim government is the problem and we have the solution." Lather, rinse, repeat.

    December 3, 2011 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  4. eddieb

    not the SSI taxs leave them go back to where they were cut something else please

    December 3, 2011 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  5. dreucalypt

    In her heart of hearts Olympia Snowe must know better than to believe what she just said.

    December 3, 2011 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  6. GI Joe

    The tax cuts for the wealthy didn't have to be "paid for". Neither did the 2 wars.

    It's only when it helps the real people that it has to be "paid for" and that's generally another pain for the real people. When are the wealthy going to pay their share? And don't start that "they pay already" crap. It's B.S.

    December 3, 2011 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    If the payroll tax cut does not include tax cuts for big oil, big banks, big pharma, Wall Street, billionaires and foreign corporations, all to be paid for by the 99%, don't count on republicans to support it.

    December 3, 2011 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  8. Richard

    More class warfare from a classless guy!

    December 3, 2011 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  9. Jerry/Florida

    All this do nothing/divisive/egotist president and his Democratic minions REALLY want to do is blame the Republicans for all his personal failures. Just like Whats-her-Man (Debbie), lie, lie and then lie some more. Making unsubstantiated claims about Republicans stealing the 2012 elections. It's probably the other way around.

    Wake up America. Don't be blindsided by these tax and spend hoodlums, ever again!

    Research the issues as much as possible and educate your friends and family. America needs voters to be informed in 2012.

    December 3, 2011 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  10. Bill in Florida

    The GOP loves to talk about a balanced budget amendment with a Dem is in the White House. Otherwise, it's a verboten topic.

    December 3, 2011 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  11. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Ok,
    Just extend the Bush Tax Cuts for at least 10 more years, Repeal Obama Care and listen to Small Business on what Regulations that are needed to end. That should go a long way for Jobs to pick up.

    December 3, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  12. Ron

    At some point (probably after their representatives have caused them enough pain) republicans will see that the people they elected have betrayed their trust. This ought to be an eye-opening experience for all of those middle class and lower republican voters. YOUR elected officials are willing to sacrafice YOUR lifestyle and family's quality of life to do what?...make it harder for you to live and support YOUR family. If you've been telling them to cut out the nonsense and work with this president (because he's going to win re-election) they have not been listening to you! Get rid of the extremists. What's this nonsense? Govenor takeover of cities, no healthcare for Ground zero workers, women's rights, corporations are people too, poor people don't know how to work, flip-flop Mitt (who doesn't even know his own first name)???? Is that what the republican party has become? It's a joke, if so. Get out while you still have a shred of dignity and some sense of right and wrong...

    December 3, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  13. Anthony

    Republicans, if you want to balance the budget, just point out what programs in the budget you want to cut. Defense? We know you don't want to cut defense. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid? We know these programs are your targets. Defense, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid make up two-thirds of the budget. The interest on the national debt is about 250 billion. With a total federal budget of 3.7 trillion and a deficit of 1.6 trillion (more than one-third of the total spending), what are you going to cut to balance the budget?

    December 3, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  14. Marie MD

    All you fools who keep voting for the teapublikans better have some money saved because you are going to see less and less in your paychecks while those rich "job creators" don't create a darn thing for anyone else and just pile their money in the basement.

    December 3, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  15. Calling them as I see them

    So with more and more Americans retiring, the government on the hook for their social security and the government now paying out more than it takes in in SS taxes, the Democrats want to RAID the SS money to try and get another stimulus package in desperate hopes of reviving the economy. Most Americans are doing what the federal government should be doing, paying DOWN their debt. That is where most of this money will go. As usual the Democrats demonstrate absolutely NO fiscal responsibility.

    I'm no big fan of higher taxes but the government needs to act responsibly with regards to its obligations and STOP using this tax money for their own political reasons. Enough of the games. Make responsible decisions FOR THE LONG TERM good of this country.

    December 3, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  16. WiredweirdinSF

    How much can they rich be taxed under Obozo's plans and how many times can the money saved from his cowardly, and soon to be retreat from Iraq be spent by this corrupt, inept, incompetent, union toady president?

    December 3, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  17. American

    Republicans in Congress would rather RAISE TAXES on Americans and play the same old political games rather than agree with President Obama to extend our payroll tax cut and work together.

    December 3, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  18. vic , nashville ,tn

    Mitch McConnell really endorsed Obama

    Republicans are opposing payroll tax cut because it didn’t pay for it but they support Bush tax cut and they want to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan long time

    Every one talking including republicans and tea baggers

    I think Mitch McConnell push the wrong button

    December 3, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "We can't let that happen," he said in his weekly address. "In fact, I think we should cut taxes on working families and small business owners even more."

    So far as I can remember, this is only the second time I've ever agreed with Obama. Of course, I couldn't disagree more with the unstated second half of his proposal, to pay for it all by soaking the so-called "rich" even more egregiously than they already are. Someone proposed recently slashing the pay of the swarms of federal bureaucrats and start RIF-ing them in droves–that sounds like a good place to start.

    December 3, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  20. Donkey Party

    The GOP are a bunch of lying frauds. Where was their concern over the deficit when they declared two unfunded wars? Where was their concern when they passed the Bush Tax Cuts (twice) without funding (and now say the tax cuts for the middle-class have to be paid for)? Where was their concern when they passed Medicare Part D without any funding? Where, where, where??? History and fact (two things all right-wingers refuse to accept or comprehend) clearly shows that the GOP have always been the biggest spenders, but then they conveniently blame Democrats when the country gets smart enough to nominate Democrats to come in and clean up the mess the GOP leaves behind. Wake up America, the GOP is only good at one thing, lying to you!

    December 3, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  21. Steve, Chicago IL

    The President is not trying very hard, is he? That's why he needs to support someone else as the Democrat candidate for President next year. He needs to just step aside and let someone with better ethics and gumption take the helm.
    Many of us are sick of the Jimmy Carter act. And the preacher mannerisms need to go, also.
    But most of all we need someone who will fight for equal rights. The President is not doing that at all that I can see.
    That's why so many are protesting. The President is not doing his whole duty or honoring all of his Oath either.

    December 3, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |