Obama slams Republicans over tax

2011-12-22 23:03
Washington - US President Barack Obama on Thursday slammed a radical "faction" of Republicans for blocking a plan to give 160 million people an extended payroll tax holiday, raising the stakes in a bitter standoff.

"This is exactly why people get so frustrated with Washington... this is an issue where an overwhelming number of people in both parties agree," Obama said at a White House event.

"Has this place become so dysfunctional that even when people agree with things we can't do it? It doesn't make any sense. Enough is enough," Obama said.

Obama cited Americans who replied to a White House call for people to say how they would be impacted if the payroll tax cut expires on January 1, and they lose up to $40 in their pay every two weeks.

He said testimony was pouring into the White House on its website and on Twitter, adding that 30 000 people had replied at a rate of 2 000 per hour.

Obama called on House Republicans to pass a two-month bipartisan compromise to extend the 2% payroll tax cut. Republicans are refusing to endorse the plan, calling for a year-long extension instead.

"Nearly every Democrat in the Senate voted for that compromise. Nearly every Republican in the Senate voted for that compromise," Obama said.

"I am ready to sign that compromise into law the second it lands on my desk.

"So far the only reason it hasn't landed on my desk, the only reason, is because a faction of House Republicans have refused to support this compromise."

Some observers have questioned whether the showdown suggests that House Speaker John Boehner has lost control of his party caucus, including conservative Tea Party lawmakers elected in 2010 mid-term polls.

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