In the hours leading up to the 11th Republican presidential debate, scheduled to take place in New Hampshire Tuesday night, President Obama flew to the Granite State to issue a challenge to Congress to extend and expand the payroll tax holiday when lawmakers return to Washington next week. It also was an opportunity to contrast his economic policies with those of Republican lawmakers and his potential rivals.
He told the crowd gathered at Manchester High School Central that if Congressional Republicans don’t support the measure, middle-class families will have to pay an average additional $1,000 in taxes when the plan expires at the end of this year. Obama’s proposal would give them a tax cut of $1500 in 2012 if Congress votes to expand the payroll tax holiday. He also announced that the public can figure out exactly how much they would gain or lose, using the payroll tax cut calculator at whitehouse.gov.
The measure was supposed to have been included in the federal deficit reduction plan hatched out by the super committee, but since the bipartisan panel failed to achieve its task, Obama is now calling on Congress to hold a separate vote.
“Next week, they’ll get a simple vote,” Obama said. “No, your taxes go up. Yes, you get a tax cut. Which way do you think Congress should vote?”
The president also called on voters to send their representatives a message that they should be protecting the middle class from tax hikes.
“Tell them, don’t be a Grinch,” he said, referring to the classic Dr. Seuss Christmas tale. “Don’t vote to raise taxes on working Americans during the holidays.”
Although the New Hampshire visit was not billed as a campaign event, the president did make a campaign-style stop at a casual corner diner, where he met with a local family. It’s also no secret that he hopes that the state, which he carried in 2008 by 54 percent, will be in his column again when votes are counted next year.
(Photo: EPA/CJ GUNTHER/LANDOV)