President Obama is calling on Congress to extend the payroll tax cut for middle-class families and unemployment insurance benefits before the end of the year. Speaking from the White House this afternoon, the President said:
A year ago at this time, both parties came together to cut payroll taxes for the typical American family by about $1,000. But as soon as this year ends, so does that tax cut. If Congress fails to renew this tax cut before then, that same family will see a tax hike of about $1,000 a year. There aren’t many folks either in the middle class or those trying to get into the middle class who can afford to give up $1,000—not right now. And that's why Congress must act.
Last week, virtually every Senate Republican voted against that tax cut. Now, I know many Republicans have sworn an oath never to raise taxes as long as they live. How could it be that the only time there's a catch is when it comes to raising taxes on middle-class families? How can you fight tooth and nail to protect high-end tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, and yet barely lift a finger to prevent taxes going up for 160 million Americans who really need the help? It doesn’t make sense.
This isn't just something that I want. This isn't just a political fight. Independent economists, some of whom have in the past worked for Republicans, agree that if we don't extend the payroll tax cut and we don't extend unemployment insurance, it will hurt our economy. The economy won't grow as fast and we won't see hiring improve as quickly. It will take money out of the pockets of Americans just at a time when they need it. It will harm businesses that depend on the spending just at the time when the economy is trying to get some traction in this recovery. It will hurt all of us. And it will be a self-inflicted wound.
So my message to Congress is this: Keep your word to the American people and don't raise taxes on them right now. Now is not the time to slam on the brakes; now is the time to step on the gas. Now is the time to keep growing the economy, to keep creating jobs, to keep giving working Americans the boost that they need. Now is the time to make a real difference in the lives of the people who sent us here. So let's get to work.
Stand with President Obama and add your name to call on Congress to act.