WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said on Thursday that a U.S. economic recovery could be harmed if Congress fails to extend a payroll tax cut that otherwise expires at the end of the month.
"We've seen the economy do better over the last couple of months, but there's still a lot of sources of uncertainty out there - what's going on in Europe, what's going on around the world," Obama said. "So this is insurance to make sure that our recovery continues."
Reading from some of the 30,000 messages he said the White House has received from Americans in support of extending the tax cut to illustrate what some people would have to give up if they lost the $40 a month from the extension, Obama demanded action.
"Enough is enough. The people standing with me today cannot afford any more games," Obama said, gesturing to some of the authors of the messages who joined the president for his statement in a building adjacent to the White House.
"The House (of Representatives) needs to pass a short-term version of this compromise and then we should negotiate an agreement as quickly as possible to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance for the rest of 2012," he said.
A spokesman for Republican House Speaker John Boehner said that Obama's remarks ignored Republicans' offer to thrash out a deal now for a full-year tax cut extension.
"It's disappointing the president says he agrees with the House's desire for a full-year extension, but has still declined to negotiate with Republicans to make it a reality," said Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck.
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