Friday, June 17, 2011

Obama: US Must Keep Payroll Tax Cut in Place

President Barack Obama said he wanted to keep measures like a payroll tax cut in place that had helped support U.S. growth and hiring, but remained vague about specific new action that he would pursue.

"The steps we've already taken, in terms of a payroll tax cut, making sure we're providing incentives to businesses to build plants and put people to work, those steps we've got to sustain," he told ABC's "Good Morning America" program in an interview broadcast on Friday.

Democrat Obama last week floated the idea of extending some of the measures in a tax cut package agreed with Republicans in December to spur hiring and reduce the country's 9.1 percent unemployment rate.

Aides to lawmakers in talks led by Vice President Joe Biden over lifting the $14.3 trillion U.S. debt ceiling have since said that the issue of a payroll tax cut had been raised in those negotiations.

Obama declined to say specifically what new steps he favored, but made plain he wanted something done to boost the U.S. economy, whose flagging performance is sapping his approval ratings with voters and could determine if he wins re-election next year.

"Whatever incentives we can provide to hire more people, the better off we're going to be. So I'll be working with leaders in both parties hopefully to make the right decisions for the American people," he said.

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