President Barack Obama greets people outside of Del Ray Pizzeria, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011, in Alexandria, Va. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Careening toward a politically toxic tax hike, President Barack Obama implored House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday to get behind a two-month stopgap until a longer deal could be struck early next year, calling it the only real way out of a mess that is threatening the paychecks of 160 million workers and isolating House Republicans.
In a weary Washington, the outreach accomplished little. All sides seemed to end the day where they began, with heavy political and economic consequences at stake.
Boehner remained insistent on a full-year extension of the existing payroll tax cut before Jan. 1, urging Obama to haul Senate Democrats back to town to talk to his chosen negotiators. “Let’s get this done today,” Boehner told Obama, according to a speaker’s aide, who required anonymity to characterize a private conversation.
But the Capitol was emptying out fast, and the Senate showed no inclination to return, having already passed a bipartisan two-month tax cut it thought had settled the matter.
For taxpayers, and for an economy starting to show some life again, the standoff was all holiday gloom.
Barring any action by Congress, Social Security payroll taxes will go up almost Login to read more