President Obama spoke to reporters after Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to once again block an extension of the payroll tax cut:
Even though Republicans and Democrats in the Senate were willing to compromise for the good of the country, a faction of Republicans in the House are refusing to even vote on the Senate bill—a bill that cuts taxes for 160 million Americans. And because of their refusal to cooperate, all those Americans could face a tax hike in just 11 days, and millions of Americans who are out there looking for work could find their unemployment insurance expired.
The issue right now is this: The clock is ticking; time is running out. And if the House Republicans refuse to vote for the Senate bill or even allow it to come up for a vote, taxes will go up in 11 days. I saw today that one of the House Republicans referred to what they’re doing as “high-stakes poker.” He’s right about the stakes, but this is not poker. This is not a game—this shouldn’t be politics as usual. Right now, the recovery is fragile, but it is moving in the right direction. Our failure to do this could have effects not just on families but on the economy as a whole. It’s not a game for the average family, who doesn’t have an extra 1,000 bucks to lose. It’s not a game for somebody who’s out there looking for work right now, and might lose his house if unemployment insurance doesn’t come through. It’s not a game for the millions of Americans who will take a hit when the entire economy grows more slowly because these proposals aren’t extended.
Let’s not play brinksmanship. The American people are weary of it; they’re tired of it. They expect better. I’m calling on the Speaker and the House Republican leadership to bring up the Senate bill for a vote. Give the American people the assurance they need in this holiday season.
Watch the President’s full remarks, then let Congress know it’s time to act.