Payroll Tax Cuts: Obama Calls on House to Pass Bill

President says House Republicans refusal to vote could mean tax hikes in 11 days
3:00 | 12/20/11

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Transcript for Payroll Tax Cuts: Obama Calls on House to Pass Bill
It is no secret. There hasn't been an abundance of partisanship in Washington this year. And that's why what happened on Saturday. With such a big deal. -- the entire -- Including almost all of the Republicans. Voted to prevent a 160 million working Americans. From receiving a tax increase on January 1. Nearly of the entire senate voted to make sure that nearly two and a half million Americans -- they're looking for a job. Don't lose their unemployment insurance in the first two months of next year. And just about everybody. Democrats and Republicans. Committed to making sure that early next year we find a way to extend the payroll tax cut and -- -- insurance. Through the end of 2012. But now even though Republicans and Democrats in the senate were willing to compromise for the good of the country. A faction. Of Republicans in the house are refusing to even vote on the senate bill. A bill that cuts taxes for -- 160 million Americans. And because of their refusal to cooperate all those Americans could face -- tax -- in just eleven days. And millions of Americans -- -- -- looking for work could find their -- and employment insurance expired. Now let's be clear. Right now be bipartisan compromise that was reached on Saturday. Is the only viable way to prevent a tax like. On January 1. It's the only one. All of the leaders in congress. Democrats and Republicans. Say they are committed to making sure we extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance for the entire year. And by the -- this is something I call -- months ago. The issue is that the Republican and democratic leaders of the senate. Worked on a one year deal. Made good progress. But determined that they needed more time to reach an agreement. And that's why they passed an insurance policy. To make sure the taxes don't -- -- on January 1. In fact the house Republicans say they don't dispute. The need for a payroll tax cut. What they're really trying to do what their. Holding out for is to wring concessions from Democrats. On issues that have nothing to do with the payroll tax cut. Issues where the parties fundamentally disagree. So a one year deal is not the issue. We can and we will come to that agreement as long as it's focused on the payroll tax -- and unemployment insurance and not focused on. Extraneous issues. The issue right now is -- The clock is ticking. Time is running out. And -- the house Republicans refuse. To vote for the senate bill or even allow it to come up for a vote. Taxes will go up in eleven days. I saw today that one of the house Republicans were referred to what they're doing as quote high stakes poker. He's right about the stakes. But this is not -- this is not a game. The shouldn't be politics as usual. Right now the recovery. Is fragile but it is moving in the right direction. Our failure to do this could have facts not just on families but on the economy as a whole. It's not a game for the average family doesn't have an extra thousand bucks to lose. It's not a game for somebody was out -- looking for work right now. And might lose his house if unemployment insurance doesn't come through. Not a game for the millions of Americans who will take a hit when the entire economy grows more slowly. Because these proposals are an extent it. You know -- I just got back from a ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base where we received the flag in the colors. That our troops fought under in Iraq. I met with some of last men and women to return home from that war. These Americans. And all Americans -- so are the embodiment of courage. And selflessness. And patriotism. When they fight together and sometimes die together they don't know and they certainly don't care who's a Democrat and who's a Republican House somebody's -- -- in the polls. And how this might play in the -- -- -- work -- -- team and they do their job. And they do it for something bigger than themselves. The people in this town need to learn something from them. We have more important things to worry about than politics right now. We have more important things to worry about than saving face. We're figuring out. Internal caucus politics. Where people -- were counting on us. To make their lives just a little bit easier. To build an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility. Is rewarded. And we -- it to -- to come together right now and do the right thank. That's what the senate bid. Democrats and Republicans in the senate said were gonna put. Our fights on other issues aside and go ahead. And do what's right. On something we all agree to. Let's go ahead and do it we'll have time later for the politics we'll have time later. Have fights around a whole bunch other issues right now though we know this is good for the economy. And they went ahead and at the right. I -- the speaker. And house Republicans. To do the -- Put politics aside. Put aside issues where there are fundamental disagreements. And come together. On something we agree -- And let's not play brinksmanship. The American people are we -- up. They're tired. They expect about. I'm calling on the speaker and house Republican leadership to bring up the senate bill for a vote. Give the American people reassurance they need and that's all they --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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