It’s round three of the fight to extend the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits through the end of the year, and President Obama has come out swinging. Pulling out his best weapon, regular folks for whom $40 goes a long way, the president warned congressional Republicans to stop all the drama and just say yes. But since he knows exactly who he’s dealing with, he also called on voters to help him put the squeeze on lawmakers.
“Tell them: Do not let up until this thing gets done. Don’t let taxes go up on 160 million working Americans. Don’t let millions of Americans who are out there looking for work right now — and the economy’s starting to improve but they don’t have a job yet — don’t leave them without a lifeline in terms of cutting off their unemployment insurance,” Obama said, directing voters to reach out to their representatives by phone or in tweets, using the hashtag $40.
Republicans are still stinging from a similar ploy the president used in December that cast them as stingy Grinches who were happy to fill the Christmas stockings of the nation’s wealthiest with all kinds of tax-break gold while the 99 percent worried about how to soften the pinch of living without that extra $40 per paycheck. They finally caved and on Monday House GOP leaders surprisingly agreed to extend the payroll tax cut.
But they’re holding off on a plan to continue unemployment benefits without a plan to pay for them. It’s an election year, after all, and these two bills may be the only ones that get passed. Without a little drama, where’s the fun?
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(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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