Published February 21, 2012
President Obama on Tuesday hailed the passage of the payroll tax cut extension as a "big deal" for middle-class families, as he urged Congress to "keep going" with proposals the president claims will stimulate economic growth.
"This tax cut makes a difference for a lot of families," Obama said. "The entire economy gets another boost just as the recovery's starting to gain some steam."
The president, though, did not actually sign the bill extending a 2-point payroll tax cut, in addition to long-term jobless benefits, at Tuesday's ceremony. An administration official told Fox News that the White House still has not received the bill that Congress passed on Friday.
The brief remarks were more of a victory lap for the president, after he and his Democratic allies in Congress won enough bipartisan support to extend the provisions through the end of the year.
They were extended for two months at the end of 2011, and were set to expire if Washington did not act imminently.
Obama noted the extension would mean the preservation of roughly $40 per paycheck for the average family. "For the typical American family, it is a big deal," he said. "That $40 helps to pay the rent, the groceries, the rising cost of gas."
The president called on Congress to keep acting on economic and budget legislation. He called for Congress' support on a mortgage refinancing proposal. He again pushed for the adoption of the so-called "Buffett rule," which would mandate that anyone making $1 million a year or more pays at least a 30 percent tax rate.
House Republican Leader Eric Cantor's office said in its daily memo Tuesday that the House will propose a package of "bipartisan measures to empower small businesses and entrepreneurs," including a 20 percent tax cut for small businesses.
Though Obama has not yet received the payroll tax cut bill from Congress, House Speaker John Boehner's office said Tuesday they have "no problems" with it. It's unclear when the bill will reach Obama's desk.