President Obama today commended Congress for breaking its stalemate over the payroll tax cut "just in the nick of time for the holidays," and preventing 160 million Americans from seeing a 2 percent tax hike on January 1.
However, the president said passing the tax cut extension in the current economy should be a "formality," and dnce Congress returns from its holiday break, Mr. Obama said, lawmakers should pass a full, one-year extension "without drama, without delay."
Extending the payroll tax cut will give Americans more money to spend, which will boost the economy, Mr. Obama said -- "a boost we very much need right now."Continue »
"It doesn't make any sense," he told reporters in a press conference. "Enough is enough."
House Republicans argue that the Senate bill - which was negotiated in a bipartisan effort by leaders Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Harry Reid, D-Nev., and which sailed through the chamber last weekend with broad bipartisan support - is a short-term fix for a long-term problem.
On Thursday, Boehner was sticking to his guns even while fellow Republican McConnell urged House lawmakers to pass the Senate bill.Continue »
President Obama called House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday to press him to accept a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, promising that if the temporary extension is passed, the president will sign a full, one-year extension into law by the end of January.
Mr. Obama also made a separate call to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and according to a White House summary of the call, "applauded him for the work he conducted with Minority Leader [Mitch] McConnell to achieve a successful bipartisan compromise" on the payroll tax cut.
The debate over an extension of the tax cut remains deadlocked, after the Republican-led House on Tuesday refused to accept a Senate-passed version of the bill, which passed with 89 votes and the support of all but seven Republicans.Continue »
President Obama is set to give his 2012 State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 24, a few days after the first three states in the Republican nominating process have made their choice known.
As per tradition, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) sent a letter to Mr. Obama Wednesday formally inviting him to give the address on that date to a joint session of Congress in the House chamber of the Capitol.
"As we work together to end this legislative year by advancing initiatives to help Americans struggling in a difficult economy, we must also look ahead for new opportunities to put solutions before politics," Boehner wrote, adding that "we welcome an opportunity to hear your new ideas for working with the Congress."
The Associated Press reports that the White House has accepted the offer, the result of closed-door negotiations involving the White House and congressional leaders.Continue »
The Obama administration announced today that it's suspending the production of presidential dollar coins as part of its efforts to cut government waste.
Officials said today they expect to save at least $50 million per year in production and storage costs for currency that apparently no one wants to use: More than 40 percent of the $1 coins issued by the U.S. Mint have been returned to the Federal Reserve, leaving the Fed with an excess of nearly 1.4 billion of the coins.
"In these tough times, Americans are making every dollar count, and they deserve the same from their government," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said in a statement. "We simply shouldn't be wasting taxpayer money on money that taxpayers aren't using."Continue »
The Iraqi government has been far less forceful than the United States in its criticism of the Syrian government's violent crackdown against anti-government protesters. However, President Obama said today that the difference between the U.S. response and the Iraqi response is simply "tactical."
"We share the view that when the Syrian people are being killed or are unable to express themselves that's a problem," Mr. Obama said today at a White House press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. "There's no disagreement there."
Mr. Obama and al-Maliki met at the White House today to discuss how the U.S. and Iraq can maintain a comprehensive relationship even as the U.S. winds down its military presence, with troops slated to be out by the end of the year. The two leaders today they remain committed partners, even though their responses to the violence in Syria has differed.Obama: "History will judge" if Iraq was a "dumb" war
Obama: We leave Iraq with "heads held high" Continue »
President Obama on Monday said "history will judge" whether or not going into Iraq was a mistake.
In a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki following a meeting at the White House, Mr. Obama emphasized the strength of U.S.-Iraqi ties and reiterated America's commitment to developing a relationship "based on equal partnerships, mutual interests, and mutual respect."
Still, Mr. Obama said "I think history will judge the original decision to go into Iraq" when asked whether or not he still thought the war in Iraq was "dumb."
In 2002, Mr. Obama, then a fierce opponent of the war, delivered a speech lambasting it as "dumb," "rash," and a "cynical attempt" by the George W. Bush administration to "shove their own ideological agendas down our throats."Obama: Iraq's response to Syria not influenced by Iran
Obama: We leave Iraq with "heads held high" Continue »
The delegates for the Republican presidential nomination will start being distributed at the Iowa caucuses in just a few weeks, but President Obama says he's not concerned with who he'll have to face next November.
"It doesn't really matter who the nominee is gonna be," the president said on CBS' "60 Minutes," in an interview that aired Sunday evening. "The core philosophy that they're expressing is the same. And the contrast in visions between where I want to take the country and what-- where they say they want to take the country is gonna be stark."
He added that "the American people are gonna have a good choice and it's gonna be a good debate."Continue »
Updated 7:25 p.m. ET
CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.
Less than one year out from Election Day 2012, voters remain overwhelmingly pessimistic about the economy, and their concerns are taking a toll on President Obama's re-election chances. Just 41 percent of Americans think Mr. Obama has performed his job well enough to be elected to a second term, whereas 54 percent don't think so.
The president's overall approval rating remains in the mid-40's, according to a CBS News poll - lower than the approval ratings of Mr. Obama's four presidential predecessors at this point in their first terms. Mr. Obama's approval rating is dragged down by his poor marks for his handling of the economy - which, at 33 percent, is the lowest rating of his presidency in CBS News polls.
Mr. Obama receives better marks on foreign policy and for his leadership skills. But when it comes to leading the economy in the right direction, voters are unimpressed: Just 28 percent think he has made progress on improving the economy. And most Americans say the president doesn't share the public's priorities, according to the poll, conducted December 5-7.Continue »
Abortion rights groups and women's health advocates are expressing disappointment and anger today after the Health and Human Services Department decided to keep the Plan B morning-after pill from being sold over the counter.
Some are suggesting the move -- which overrules a decision from the Food and Drug Administration and the agency's scientists -- was made for political reasons. At least one former FDA official is calling on President Obama to reverse the decision.
"This is really unprecedented in terms of overturning a decision about a drug approval," Dr. Susan Wood, former FDA Assistant Commissioner for Women's Health and a professor of at the GW School of Public Health and Health Services, told Hotsheet. "This is taking decision making out of the hands of the FDA, and that is a terrible precedent not just for contraceptive products, but for all things the FDA does."Continue »
Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET
Channeling the progressivism of President Teddy Roosevelt, President Obama on Tuesday traveled to Osawatomie, Kansas to call for an economic agenda based on shared sacrifice and to strongly rebuke the Republicans' laissez-faire policies.
"This is a make or break moment for the middle class, and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class," Mr. Obama said from Osawatomie High School. "At stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, and secure their retirement."
Citing both the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movement, Mr. Obama called the restoration of the middle class "the defining issue of our time."Continue »
President Obama took to White House briefing room Monday to press Republicans to agree to extend the Social Security payroll tax cut holiday, which is set to expire at the end of the year if no action is taken.
"It would spur spending, it would spur hiring, and it's the right things to do," he said.
Many congressional Republicans have signaled they are open to extending the tax cut - though they have balked at Democratic proposals to pay for it. Last week, Senate Democrats failed to get the 60 votes necessary to pass a bill that would have extended and expanded the cut and paid for it with a 3.25 percent tax on income in excess of $1 million.
Democrats see the payroll tax fight as a prime opportunity to cast themselves as fighting for the middle class while casting Republicans as doing the bidding of the wealthiest Americans. The Obama reelection team emailed supporters last week to argue the fight shows that "when [Republicans] say no tax hikes, they really mean millionaires and billionaires shouldn't pay more, ever -- even if that means your taxes go up."
Mr. Obama picked up that line of argument Monday.
"I know many Republicans have sworn an oath never to raise taxes as long as they live," he said. "How could it be the only time there's a catch is when it comes to raising taxes for middle class families?"Continue »
The Senate is expected to vote on Cordray's nomination as early as Thursday. But a White House statement targets some Republicans for vowing to "block his nomination without raising question about his qualifications or background" - which the administration argues is a disservice to the public .
As a result, the Obama administration is pushing forward with a media offensive aimed at educating voters in seven targeted states about the bureau in general, and "the consumer protections that would be put in place if Mr. Cordray is confirmed and the tangible consequences for families in those states."Continue »
President Obama on Thursday announced plans to step up the fight against AIDS, by making a modest commitment of an extra $50 million for domestic treatment and promising to provide more drugs to to people living with AIDS internationally.
"We can beat this disease. We can win this fight," Mr. Obama said from a World AIDS Day event in Washington. "We just have to keep at it, today, tomorrow, and every day until we get to zero."
The event, at George Washington University, was also attended by U2 lead singer Bono, singer Alicia Keys and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also participated; before Mr. Obama spoke, Mr. Bush delivered remarks from Tanzania, where he was joined by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.
Mr. Obama said his administration is committing an additional $15 million for the Ryan White program, which supports HIV medical clinics in the U.S., as well as an additional $35 million for state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs.Continue »
President Obama on Wednesday evening defended his record on Israel, claiming that "this administration has done more in terms of the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration."
The president was speaking at a small campaign fundraiser at the New York Mansion of Jack Rosen, chairman of the American Jewish Congress. The president has sought to prove his commitment to Israel this year as Republicans -- and Jewish voters -- have expressed skepticism.
"Whether it's making sure that our intelligence cooperation is effective, to making sure that we're able to construct something like an Iron Dome so that we don't have missiles raining down on Tel Aviv, we have been consistent in insisting that we don't compromise when it comes to Israel's security," Mr. Obama said at the fundraiser. "And that's not just something I say privately, that's something that I said in the U.N. General Assembly. And that will continue."Continue »