President Obama told Congressional Republicans today that until they pass a payroll tax and unemployment benefits extension, they can’t go home for Christmas.
The President said, “Right now, Congress needs to make sure that one hundred sixty million working Americans don’t see their taxes go up on January 1. None of the workers who joined us here today can afford a thousand dollar tax increase next year, and it wouldn’t be good for the economy. Every economist indicates that it is important for us to extend the payroll tax cut and make sure that unemployment insurance is extended.”
Obama then said Congress can’t go on vacation until they pass the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits extensions, “So this congress can not and should not leave for vacation until they have made sure that that tax increase doesn’t happen. Let me repeat that, Congress should not and can not go on vacation before they have made sure that working families aren’t seeing their taxes go up by a thousand dollars and those who are out there looking for work don’t see their unemployment insurance expire. There’s no reason why we should be able to extend these items the payroll tax cut, UI before the holidays. There’s no reason the government should shut down over this, and I expect all of us to do what’s necessary to do the people’s business, and make sure it’s done before the end of the year.”
Obama said it twice. Congress will be spending Christmas in session if they don’t get their act together and pass the payroll tax and unemployment benefits extensions. In a demonstration of how childish our legislative branch truly is, this is the most effective threat that Obama or any president can use to spur Congress into action before the end of the year.
On the same day that new Census data was released that showed half of all Americans are either low income or in poverty, the President of the United States was forced to threaten to cancel Christmas vacation if the Congress won’t do something to help those who struggle the most in our country. When taken together, these two events are a stunning indictment of the behavior of Congressional Republicans.
Like children who have been threatened with a lump of coal in their stockings, Republicans will only stop being naughty if they are threatened with a Christmas punishment for their bad behavior.
Obama is willing to put the people’s business ahead of Christmas with his family, while John Boehner continues to tell the media that the House will go on Christmas vacation as soon as possible. Boehner keeps urging his caucus to pass legislation, not because it is good for the American people, but because he wants to go on vacation.
Unless the spirit of Christmas makes their hearts grow 10 sizes overnight, congressional Republicans can cancel their flights, because they’ll be spending the holidays working in Washington because Barack Obama is going to force them to do the right thing for hundreds of millions of working and unemployed Americans.