Dec. 21 - Obama presses House Republicans to pass a short-term extension of payroll tax cuts as a first step to a longer-term fix. Katharine Jackson reports.
As Americans - including U.S. President Barack Obama - rush to the stores in Christmas crunch time, a standoff over extending a tax break worsens in Washington. Before shopping, Obama placed a phone call to Republican House Speaker John Boehner. His message: extend the expiring payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans by passing a short-term extension and return for talks on a year-long deal in the New Year. White House spokesman Jay Carney. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON JAY CARNEY SAYING: ""The short-term bipartisan compromise passed by almost the entire Senate is the only option to ensure that middle class families are not hit with a tax hike in 10 days, and gives both sides the time needed to work out a full year's solution." The Senate passed bipartisan legislation on a two month - short-term extension over the weekend...but House Republicans oppose it. Boehner told reporters his party will hammer out a one-year deal if Senate Democrats will join their talks. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER SAYING: "We are here. We are ready to go to work, and we are hoping that Senate Democrats will appoint negotiators and come to the table and resolve these differences." Republicans in the House are under fire from Senate Republicans Senate for refusing to consider the two-month deal. Meanwhile, most Senate Democrats have already left Washington for the holidays. Katharine Jackson, Reuters.