The Washington Post

White House renews #40dollars Twitter campaign on payroll tax cut

Call it tweets for tax cuts.

On Tuesday, President Obama renewed his Twitter campaign to pressure Congress to approve a year-long extension of the payroll tax holiday. [Click here for coverage of Obama’s remarks on the issue Tuesday.]

The president wants supporters to use the hash tag #40dollars while explaining what losing that much in each paycheck would mean to them. That’s the amount an average American worker would give up every two weeks if the tax holiday expires as scheduled at month’s end, according to the Obama administration.

In December, the same strategy helped the White House foment populist sentiment as Obama routed House Republicans and won a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut. More than 30,000 people had responded to #40dollars campaign on Twitter and the White House Web site, administration officials said.

Now, Obama wants to try it again — even though Republican lawmakers signaled Monday that they are willing to compromise this time by not requiring that the administration offer spending cuts on other programs to pay for the tax cut.

In a YouTube video posted on the White House account, Obama thanked supporters for helping convince Congress last time and called on them to join the cause again.

Obama said those who responded to the #40dollars campaign “made all the difference. Your voices changed the debate and reminded Washington what was at stake. Well, once again I need you; we all need you — to speak out. Because if Congress fails to act soon, then taxes on the middle class will go up.”

Though Republicans say they will compromise on the payroll tax cut, Obama also is demanding that they extend long-term unemployment insurance.

On Tuesday afternoon, Obama will appear with some of the people who responded to the Twitter campaign and share their stories publicly — something he also did last December at the White House.

David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.


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