Capping off a day of swift Congressional action on a payroll tax cut extension deal, President Barack Obama signed the bill, made a statement in the White House briefing room and then headed to Hawaii to reconnect with his family for the holidays.
In signing the measure, Obama closed the latest chapter of Washington brinkmanship over taxes and spending, which involved a bipartisan Senate deal on Saturday that the House initially refused to approve. After a week of public and political pressure, House Republicans finally relented and passed a slightly modified bill, which extends Obama’s signature payroll tax holiday as well as unemployment benefits for two months. It also reverses a planned cut to Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors.
Still, Obama made clear that he expects Congress to quickly approve a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits when they return to work.
“I urge them to keep working, without drama, without delay,” Obama said, adding that the full-year extension is “a boost that we very much need right now” with unemployment remaining high.
“We have a lot more work to do,” he said. “This continues to be a make-or-break moment for the middle class in this country.”
Obama urged both parties to roll up their sleeves and work together.
Obama concluded by saying, “Thank you, guys. Aloha.”