This morning, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law the extension of the payroll tax cut, ensuring millions of Americans won’t see their taxes go up on the first of the year, and unemployment insurance benefits and Medicare payments will continue.
Speaking from the White House, President Obama said:
“Because of this agreement, every working American will keep their tax cut—about $1,000 for a typical family. And that translates into an extra $40 or so in every paycheck. Vital unemployment insurance will continue for millions of Americans who are looking for work. And when Congress returns, I urge them to keep working, without drama, without delay, to reach an agreement that extends this tax cut as well as unemployment insurance through all of 2012.
“Last week, I said that this should be a formality, and that’s still the case. So let’s make sure that we extend this tax break and unemployment insurance for a full year for our families, but also for our economy. It’s the right thing to do because more money spent by more Americans means more businesses hiring more workers. And that’s a boost for everybody, and it’s a boost that we very much need right now.
“Finally, I want to take a moment to thank my fellow Americans for bringing their voices to this debate. I met with several here at the White House yesterday. I really think it takes courage to believe that your voice can make a difference. And I promise you, the American people, your voices made a difference on this debate. Whether you tweeted or called or wrote, you reminded people in this town what this debate and what all of our debates should be about—it’s about you. It’s about your lives. It’s about your families. You didn’t send us to this town to play partisan games, and to see who’s up and who’s down. You sent us here to serve and make your lives a little bit better; to do what’s right. And fortunately, that’s how this week ended.
“So I want to wish everybody a Merry Christmas, happy holidays, a happy New Year to you and your families … I also want to make sure to send the warmest holiday wishes to all the men and women in uniform who are serving overseas right now and may not have a chance to see their families during this holiday season. We are grateful for everything that you do” President Obama said.