The Presidential Planner: Michelle to Hawaii; Barack Works With Congress

Now that Congressional leaders have finalized a deal to stave off a government shutdown, the White House will likely spend much of today negotiating the remaining sticking points of a payroll tax cut extension.

The president has threatened for weeks that lawmakers not go home for the holidays until a compromise is agreed upon. The first lady, however, is not waiting to see how the standoff ends. She and her daughters are heading to Hawaii this evening to start their family vacation, with or without the president.

Congressional leaders reached an agreement Thursday night to fund the government through next fall, which is expected to pass the full House and Senate today. Lawmakers are now considering a short-term extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance.

The president continued to press lawmakers Thursday to extend the payroll tax cut before it expires at the end of the year and warned that if they don't, 160 million middle class Americans would see their taxes go up on January 1.

"There's no reason why we shouldn't be able to extend these items - the payroll tax cut, [unemployment insurance] - before the holidays.  There's no reason the government should shut down over this," Obama said. "I expect all of us to do what's necessary in order to do the people's business and make sure that it's done before the end of the year."

The president will spend the morning behind closed-doors and will deliver remarks to the 71st General Assembly of the Union for Reform Judaism in the afternoon.

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