Dec. 23 - Obama signs a two-month extension of payroll tax cut, wrapping up a tumultuous year of battles over spending and taxes. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
A showdown in Washington ends with President Barack Obama signing a two month extension of a payroll tax cut into law. Earlier a deadlock was broken when the House of Representatives signed on to the law that extends a payroll tax cut for 160 million working Americans that otherwise would have expired on December 31. Addressing reporters in the White House briefing room, Obama hailed the decision. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "I said it was critical for Congress not to go home without preventing a tax increase on 160 million working Americans, and I'm pleased to say that they've got it done ... Congressional negotiators now will begin looking for a way to extend the lower payroll tax through the end of next year. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "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." So far, Democrats and Republicans have been unable to agree on how to pay the approximately $200 billion cost of a full-year tax cut extension, along with continuing some unemployment benefits and doctor payments for Medicare healthcare patients. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters