Senate Dems says Obama would delay Hawaii vacation for payroll deal

President Obama told Senate Democrats that he will delay the start of his Hawaii vacation if needed to ensure that lawmakers extend the payroll tax cut set to expire at the end of the month, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid said Wednesday.

Obama is scheduled to leave for Hawaii on Dec. 17, the day after Congressional leaders have said they hope to wrap up their legislative business for the year.

But Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters that Democrats plan to stay in Washington past Christmas if necessary to get the payroll tax cut issue settled. And he said Obama told Senate leaders at a White House meeting Wednesday that he’ll do the same.

“I’ll paraphrase it, but I’m pretty close: He said, ‘Michelle and the girls will have a great time in Hawaii. They don’t need me there,” Reid said of Obama’s comments.

Democrats are pressing what they see as a political advantage over Republicans on the payroll tax issue, as GOP members are divided over whether to extend the tax cut.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday that Republicans will announce their own payroll tax proposal later this week that will ensure the cut is fully paid for.

If the payroll tax rate is allowed to revert from 4.2 to 6.2 percent next year, the average family would pay $1,000 more in taxes.

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.

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