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Obama will push for payroll tax cut extension

By JEFF MASON and ALISTER BULL
August 2, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama talks about the debt ceiling crisis in the briefing room at the White House in Washington July 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Barack Obama will continue to push for an extension of the payroll tax cut despite that not being part of a deficit-cutting deal reached by lawmakers, the White House said on Monday.

Lawmakers vote later on Monday on measures to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion debt limit and cut the deficit by at least $2.4 trillion, but these steps include no specific policies designed to spur growth and job creation.

“There is no question that he will continue to push for this. And he will make the argument that it is absolutely essential to continue to put extra money in Americans’ pockets as they deal with high energy prices and high food prices next year,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

Tepid growth and high U.S. unemployment have sapped Obama’s approval ratings, which Gallup’s latest tracking poll found had dipped to a low of 40 percent between July 26 and July 28.

Carney said the administration expects broad bipartisan consensus to support a payroll tax cut extension into 2012.

“We certainly look forward to having that debate in the fall and (Obama) will press very strongly for it,” he said.

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