President Obama is in Scranton today to campaign for re-election urge Congress to extend and expand a payroll-tax cut that is part of his economic agenda stalled by opposition from Republican lawmakers.
There is some GOP support for extending the payroll tax measure, though the president and Democrats are pushing for the cut to be higher. “In all likelihood we will agree to extend the current payroll tax relief for another year,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.,Ky.) said.
Last year, Obama and Congress agreed to reduce the payroll tax paid by workers for Social Security by 2 percentage points, to 4.2 percent of income up to 106,800. If Congress does not extend it by Dec. 31, it will expire, raising taxes on many workers. Many economists say that poses a threat to growth because consumers will have less money to spend.
Republicans have criticized Obama for his intense schedule of politically-themed travel to battleground states heading into his reelection year, suggesting that the president is more interested in saving his own job than in creating them for the nation.
The Scranton stop will be Obama’s 56th visit to a swing state this year, the third of his presidency. A Wall Street Journal report recently found that Obama has traveled far more to these politically crucial states than President George W. Bush did in 2003, the year before his reelection campaign. (49 events in 34 days).
Obama attended 54 events in 11 battlegrounds over 42 days as of Nov. 17, according to a database maintained by a Naval Academy political scientist who studies the politics of presidential travel.
Sen. Bob Casey (D.,Pa.), a native of Scranton, is unlikely to join the president because of the possibility of Senate votes in Washington, his office said.