Obama: Congress Must Do More For Economy, Avoid Gridlock

Posted February 21st, 2012 at 1:35 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama has praised Congress for extending a payroll tax cut, but says more needs to be done to help struggling and middle-class Americans.

In Washington, Mr. Obama said the average working American saves $40 a paycheck with the tax cut. He said that money is a “big deal” for the typical family and will help pay for rent, groceries or the rising cost of gasoline.

He urged lawmakers on Capitol Hill to keep making progress and not to get caught up in partisan battles ahead of November's general election.

“Now my message to Congress is do not stop here. Keep going. Keep taking the action that people are calling for to keep this economy growing. This may be an election year, but the American people have no patience for gridlock, and just a reflexive partisanship and just paying attention to poll numbers and the next elections, instead of the next generation and what we can do to strengthen opportunity for all Americans.”

He said lawmakers should work on helping small businesses and pass a measure so people making more than $1 million a year pay a tax rate of at least 30 percent.

Congress on Friday passed the bill that extended the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits. It passed after leaders in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives dropped a demand to offset the payroll tax cut with reductions in spending.