Once again, folks, we have deadlock on Capitol Hill. Happy holidays! Although President Obama and the majority of the U.S. Senate hoped that the House of Representatives would cooperate and pass legislation that would extend unemployment benefits and a payroll tax break, that didn’t happen Tuesday. This apparently displeased the president, who made his opinion clear in person later that day. –KA

AP via Google News:

“Now let’s be clear,” Obama said in a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room. “The bipartisan compromise that was reached on Saturday is the only viable way to prevent a tax hike on January 1st. The only one.”

Obama said failure to pass the Senate version of the payroll tax cut extension could endanger the U.S. economic recovery, which he described as “fragile but moving in the right direction.”

House Republicans controlling the chamber want instead immediate negotiations with the Senate on a year-long plan. But the Senate’s top Democrat on Tuesday again ruled out talks until the House passes the stopgap measure.

“President Obama needs to call on Senate Democrats to go back into session … and resolve this bill as soon as possible,” said House Speaker Boehner, R-Ohio. “I need the president to help out.”

If Congress doesn’t break the stalemate and pass a bill by the end of the year, payroll taxes will go up by almost $20 a week for a worker making a $50,000 salary. Almost 2 million people could lose unemployment benefits as well, and doctors would bear big cuts in Medicare payments.

Read more

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface.  We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig