President Obama demands up-or-down vote, threatens veto of bill tied to other issues
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — The U.S. Senate tried, and failed, Thursday to pass a payroll tax cut extension.
Democrats and Republicans have been unable to find middle ground on the tax cuts, and they're running out of time.
The tax cuts expire at the end of the year, meaning millions of Americans could see their paychecks shrink after January 1, 2012.
President Obama says that's not going to happen.
He's threatening to keep lawmakers in town through the holidays.
"We are going to stay here as long as it takes to make sure that the American people's taxes don't go up on January 1st," Mr. Obama said.
The president is refusing to bow to Republicans in the last big showdown of a politically toxic year.
"They think we should do a payroll tax but the question is what price will they extract from the president in order to get it done and i just want to make it clear. this is not about me," he said.
Republicans are pressuring the president to sign-off on building the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada.
"At a time when the American people are still asking the question, where are the jobs, I think this is a bipartisan proposal that the president ought to endorse," said House Speaker John Boehner.
Before blocking the payroll tax cut bill Senate Republicans held up the nomination of Richard Cordray, the president's choice to be a new financial watchdog for consumers.
The president isn't ruling out a recess appointment of his consumer watchdog, if there is a holiday recess.