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Obama presses Congress to OK payroll tax cut extension

12-06-2011 09:01 BJT

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday urged Republican lawmakers in Congress to join Democrats and approve the extension of payroll tax cuts next year to put more money back in the pockets of working Americans and revive the U.S. economy.

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech on payroll tax at the White House in
Washington D.C., capital of the United States, Dec. 5, 2011. Obama on Monday urged
Republican lawmakers in Congress to join Democrats and approve the extension of
payroll tax cuts next year to put more money back in the pockets of working
Americans and revive the U.S. economy. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)

Although U.S. unemployment rate dipped last month, the world's largest economy still needed to step up efforts to bolster consumption and shore up the fragile economic recovery, Obama said in a hastily arranged White House press conference.

Congress should give the green light to the administration's new payroll tax cuts plan, the centerpiece of a 447-billion-dollar jobs package unveiled in September by Obama, which would boost the payroll tax cuts to 3.1 percentage points from the current 2 percentage points cut that expires at the end of this month, Obama added.

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent in November, the lowest since March 2009, the Labor Department figures showed. However, the administration's proposals to pass the extension and expansion of payroll tax cuts have been blocked by Republican lawmakers.

The administration's top priority currently was to create jobs faster and provide more security for middle-class families,making sure that nearly 160 million hardworking Americans don't see a tax increase at the start of next year, Obama said in his latest pitch to secure the passage of the tax cuts plan.

A typical U.S. family with annual income of 50,000 dollars would pay 1,000 dollars more in payroll taxes if Congress does not act by the end of this year to extend that reduction, according to the White House.

"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 a thousand dollars, not right now. That's why Congress must act," he urged.

The extension and expansion of payroll tax cuts will help spur spending and hiring in the nation, and is "the right thing to do," he said.

A Democratic payroll tax cut plan funded by an income tax surcharge on the super-rich Americans was blocked by Republican Senators last week. A competing GOP payroll tax cut plan also failed to advance in the Senate last week, forboding new partisan wrangling and compromise in coming weeks.

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Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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