After criticizing House Republicans for refusing to “cooperate” and vote for the Senate’s two-month payroll tax cut extension, President Barack Obama said that the GOP-led House could “learn something” from U.S. soldiers who “fight” and “sometimes die together” but “don’t care” about politics.
Obama then called for House Republicans to “do the right thing” and pass the Senate’s bill.
“The clock is ticking; time is running out. 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,” Obama told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.
Obama connected his experience with troops returning from Iraq to the payroll tax fight in Congress, calling on the GOP-led House to vote in favor of the two-month payroll tax cut extension.
“I just got back from a ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base, where we received the flag and the colors that our troops fought under in Iraq, and I met with some of the last men and women to return home from that war,” he said.
“These Americans, and all Americans who serve, are the embodiment of courage and selflessness and patriotism, and when they fight together, and sometimes die together, they don’t know and they certainly don’t care who’s a Democrat and who’s a Republican and how somebody is doing in the polls and how this might play in the spin room. They work as a team, and they do their job. And they do it for something bigger than themselves.”
Obama continued, “The people in this town need to learn something from them. We have more important things to worry about than politics right now. We have more important things to worry about than saving face, or figuring out internal caucus politics. We have people who are counting on us to make their lives just a little bit easier, to build an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded. And we owe it to them to come together right now and do the right thing.”
House Speaker John Boehner has called on Obama to tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring the Senate back into session to work out a compromise that will extend the payroll tax cut for a full year.
A transcript of the president’s remarks is available here.