Funny, the President said the same thing to John Boehner today:
President Barack Obama talks with Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, in the Oval Office, Dec. 22, 2011. Nabors informed President Obama that a bipartisan agreement was reached to extend the payroll tax cut. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
House Republicans caved to President Barack Obama’s demand for a two-month payroll tax cut extension, ending an impasse that threatened to raise taxes on 160 million Americans.
The capitulation came fast Thursday afternoon as House Republicans found themselves increasingly isolated in insisting that a full one-year extension was the only solution to the year-end crisis. The end of this debate will also come quickly – the House and Senate are expected to clear the legislation on a voice vote Friday morning.
“For the past several weeks, I’ve stated consistently that it was critical that Congress not go home without preventing a tax increase on 160 million working Americans. Today, I congratulate members of Congress for ending the partisan stalemate by reaching an agreement that meets that test.
“Because of this agreement, every working American will keep his or her tax cut – about $1,000 for the average family. That’s about $40 in every paycheck. Vital unemployment insurance will continue for millions of Americans who are looking for work. And when Congress returns, I urge them to keep working to reach an agreement that will extend this tax cut and unemployment insurance for all of 2012 without drama or delay.
“This is good news, just in time for the holidays. This is the right thing to do to strengthen our families, grow our economy, and create new jobs. This is real money that will make a real difference in people’s lives. And I want to thank every American who raised your voice to remind folks in this town what this debate was all about. It was about you. And today, your voices made all the difference.”
Now, get yourself to Hawaii Mr President:
President Barack Obama plays golf at the Kaneohe Klipper Marine Golf Course in Oahu, Hawaii, Dec. 26, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Reuters: Israel’s defense minister extolled what he called Barack Obama’s resolve and risk-taking on Thursday, remarks likely to help the president’s re-election bid after the Pentagon beefed up warnings to Iran over its nuclear program.
….Citing Obama’s ideologically tinged 2009 speeches in Cairo and on the occasion of winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and this month’s U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, Barak said: “Ultimately you cannot deny he has a certain degree of consistency.”
“You may not like what he does (but) you discern a man who is capable and ready to undertake the fiercest of political risks to his survival, in order to make good on what he believes in,” said Barak, who met Obama in Washington last week.
“We are asked, sometimes, whether Obama is really a soft appeaser. To that, I say: ‘Go ask Osama bin Laden.'”
Greg Sargent: The President is set to hold another event today urging the House GOP to support the Senate payroll tax extension compromise…. A White House official emails that Obama today “will be joined by Americans who would see their taxes go up if the House Republicans fail to act”.
Washington Post: House Republicans faced mounting pressure Wednesday from critics inside and outside Congress who worry that their standoff with President Obama over whether to extend a payroll tax cut could do lasting damage to the GOP.
… The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board captured the frustration among Republicans in the paper’s Wednesday editions, asking whether the GOP’s handling of the tax debate “might end up re-electing the President before the 2012 campaign even begins in earnest.”
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said the House GOP must get past the issue. “Are Republicans getting killed now in public opinion? There’s no question,” he said Wednesday on CNBC. “Both Republicans and Democrats have agreed that this is going to happen, and probably the best thing to happen now is just to get it over with.”
Marketwatch: The number of Americans filing initial claims for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits fell 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 364,000 in the week ended Dec. 17, reaching the lowest level since April 2008, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected that claims would rise to 375,000, while remaining at levels historically associated with an improving labor market.
The four-week average of initial claims – a smoother gauge than the weekly data – fell 8,000 to 380,250, the lowest level since June 2008.
Steve Benen: It’s generally wise to avoid sweeping conclusions about week-to-week changes in data like this, but when these jobless claims fall below the 400,000 threshold, it’s evidence of an improving jobs landscape. When the number drops below 370,000, it suggests jobs are actually being created rather quickly.
Michael Tomasky: President Obama has had an awful year. But thanks to the politically asinine miscalculations of House Republicans, he’s ending 2011 with a bang.
For a bunch of people who don’t believe that Barack Obama celebrates Christmas, Republicans sure are going out of their way to make sure the president has a merry one. The short-sighted stupidity of the House Republicans is hardly to be believed. The presidential nomination contest is as unsettled as ever and still features a bunch of candidates who are about as appealing to most Americans as Aunt Gladys’s fruitcake.
…. It’s all a reminder that Obama won’t be running just against a Republican candidate. He’ll be running, as he has been, against a Republican Congress. And the public is finally getting the message that they are breathing a different kind of air from the rest of us.
Paul Krugman: David Roberts reports on the EPA’s decision, finally, to regulate mercury from coal plants … it will save tens of thousands of lives every year and prevent birth defects, learning disabilities, and respiratory diseases. This is actually a much bigger issue, when it comes to saving American lives, than terrorism.
…. The point that strikes me most, however, is that this shows that it matters who holds the White House. You can complain about Obama’s lack of a strong progressive agenda, which I sometimes do, or wonder what good it is to hold the White House when the other side blocks every attempt to do good through legislation. But mercury regulation would not have happened if John McCain were president.
Elections have consequences, and this is one delayed consequence of 2008 that will make a big difference.
CNN: President Barack Obama’s approval rating is on the rise …. In a CNN/ORC International Poll out Tuesday 49% of Americans approve of the job Obama’s doing in the White House, up five points from last month, with 48% saying they disapprove, down six points from mid-November …. The 49% approval rating is the president’s highest since May, when his number hit 54% thanks to a bounce following the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Greg Sargent: Yesterday the Washington Post released some new poll data …. it showed President Obama holds a 15 point advantage over Republicans on helping the middle class, and a 17 point edge among independents on the traditional GOP signature issue of taxes.
It would be premature to place too much stock in one poll. But CNN has just released a new survey with equally striking findings – ones that suggest that Obama’s new populist offensive, including the pressure on Republicans over the payroll tax cut, is working, and winning back middle class voters in big numbers.
Chris Cillizza: President Obama’s resurgence in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll is built in no small part on a growing sentiment in the electorate that he is fighting for the middle class. Asked who they trust more to protect the middle class, 50 percent of respondents chose Obama while just 35 percent named “Republicans in Congress”.
That’s the widest margin the President has enjoyed in Post-ABC polling on that question since December 2010 and is a vast improvement from an early November survey in which Obama had just a four-point edge over Republicans on the “protecting the middle class” question.
Dig deeper into the numbers and it’s clear that the President’s middle class messaging is resounding in the critical center of the electorate. Among independents, 49 percent trust Obama more to look out for the middle class while 32 percent side with congressional Republicans. Self described moderates opt for Obama by a wide 58 percent to 26 percent margin.
CNN: President Barack Obama’s numbers are on the rise in two important indicators of his reelection chances …. A CNN/ORC International Poll out Tuesday indicates the president’s margins have increased against five possible Republican presidential challengers in hypothetical general election matchups….
….. Obama leads Mitt Romney 52%-45% …. Romney held a 51%-47% margin over the president in last month’s survey….
…… Newt Gingrich doesn’t fare as well against the president with Obama up by 16 points, 56% to 40%. Last month Obama led Gingrich 53%-45%.
The Jewish Daily Forward: Top-level Jewish fundraisers from President Obama’s 2008 campaign are sticking with the president in 2012.
Despite reports that President Obama faces a loss of Jewish funders due to his Middle East policy, analysis of a list of elite bundlers from his 2008 race shows no defections among the president’s top Jewish supporters in 2012.
In 2008, Obama’s elite “bundlers” – fund raisers who collected more than $500,000 each for the president’s campaign – included many prominent Jews … all of them have returned on the 2012 campaign’s list of volunteer bundlers, or are confirmed to be fundraising for the campaign. And a handful of new prominent Jewish bundlers has joined the elite group this year for the first time.
Washington Post: Unemployment rates fell in 43 states in November, the most number of states to report such declines in eight years.
The falling state rates reflect the brightening jobs picture nationally. The U.S. unemployment rate fell sharply in November to 8.6 percent, the lowest since March 2009. The economy has generated 100,000 or more jobs five months in a row – the first time that’s happened since 2006 …. The drop in unemployment rates in 43 states marked the most number of states to show declines since October 2003.
White House: House Republicans are refusing to extend the payroll tax cut, which expires on December 31. If it does, taxes will go up for 160 million working Americans. Nearly everyone – from President Obama to Congressional Democrats to Republicans in the Senate – is committed to making sure that doesn’t happen, but a faction in the House is dragging their feet….
…. What does $40 mean to you? What will you and your family have to cut or go without if Congress refuses to pass the payroll tax cut? Here are some of the stories we’ve collected so far. Tell us your own story here, or tweet @WhiteHouse with the hashtag #40dollars, to help us add to the list.