In a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room, President Barack Obama called the Senate’s two-month payroll tax cut extension “the only viable way to prevent a tax hike on Jan. 1” and called on Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to allow a vote on it.
Obama said that while he still wants a full-year extension, that effort has been held up by Republicans who are trying to wring concessions from Democrats on unrelated issues. The president also ripped an unnamed Republican for calling the latest GOP move — to vote to move to a conference committee with a Senate that has already left town — “high-stakes poker.”
“This is not poker, this is not a game,” said the president, who appeared angry and animated in his brief appearance.
Obama said now is not the time to deal with internal caucus politics or more brinkmanship. He said the American people are tired of that.
“We owe it to them to come together right now and do the right thing. ... That’s what the Senate did.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.