NEW YORK (
) -- The fate of a payroll tax cut enacted at the beginning of 2011 remained in limbo Wednesday after House Republicans rejected a Senate deal that would have extended the measure for two months.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) already has said the upper chamber of Congress won't reconvene before the tax cut expires at the end of the year.
"Nearly the entire Senate
89 to 10 -- including almost all of the Republicans -- voted to prevent 160 million working Americans from receiving a tax increase on January 1st," Obama said Tuesday. "And if the House Republicans refuse to vote for the Senate bill, or even allow it to come up for a vote, taxes will go up in 11 days."
The White House launched a campaign Tuesday "
What Does $40 Mean to You? " which invited Americans to explain what an extra $40 per paycheck would go toward.
"$40 less a paycheck means I will have to pick between my insulin and the water bill. It means never being able to see my doctor -- even though I have insurance," one person from Roswell, N.M., wrote.
"$40.00 means the world to me. It's the equivalent of 5 hours' work or feeding my family for 3 nights. I am a single income of a family of 3 and I don't even make 50K," said a person from Gaylord, Mich.
Absent from the House vote were GOP presidential hopefuls Rep. Ron Paul (R., Texas) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.), as the Texas congressman was campaigning in New Hampshire while the Minnesota congresswoman was canvasing Iowa.
Neither candidate had released a statement on the House vote.
"On Saturday, the Senate also passed legislation, although shorter in length. You have said that providing Americans anything less than a full year of tax relief and
Unemployment Insurance benefits would be inexcusable," House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said Tuesday in a statement.
Obama stressed Tuesday that the Senate's "bipartisan compromise" was the only viable way to prevent a tax hike on Jan. 1, and that the measure passed bipartisan agreement because U.S. senators had said they needed more time to flesh out a firm one-year deal for the payroll tax cuts.
-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.
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