ABC News’ Mary Bruce and Devin Dwyer report:
Speaking from the 2012 battleground state of New Hampshire, President Obama urged lawmakers today to extend a payroll tax cut as he attacked Republicans for supporting tax breaks for the wealthy but not the middle class.
“When push comes to shove, are you willing to fight as hard for working families as you are for the wealthiest Americans? What’s it going to be? That’s the choice,” Obama said in a speech at a high school in Manchester, N.H.
The president caricatured Republicans as the “Grinch” for failing to support a proposal in his $447 billion jobs bill to extend and expand last year’s payroll tax cuts, which expire in December.
“Tell them, ‘Don’t be a Grinch.’ Don’t vote to raise taxes on working Americans during the holidays. Put the country before party. Put money back in the pockets of working families. Do your job. Pass our jobs bill,” Obama told the crowd of roughly 1,300.
“If Congress refuses to act, then middle-class families are going to get hit with a tax increase at the worst time. … We can’t let that happen. Not right now. It would be bad for the economy. It would be bad for employment,” Obama said. “Are they really willing to break their oath to never raise taxes, and raise taxes on the middle class just to play politics?”
According to the White House, the president’s proposal would provide a tax cut for 160 million workers by increasing the payroll tax cut to 3.1 percent.
“That isn’t a Band-Aid, that is a big deal,” Obama said in a veiled jab at Republican candidtate Mitt Romney, who last month called the payroll tax cut extension a Band-Aid. Romney began airing his first TV ad of the cycle in New Hampshire today, using his visit to attack Obama’s economic record.
“In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we are going to give them another chance,” the president said, referring to Congress. “Next week they’re going to get to make a simple vote. To be clear – no, your taxes go up; yes, you get a tax cut. Which way do you think they should vote?”