Obama challenges GOP to back more payroll tax cuts

WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama is challenging congressional Republicans to back an aggressive plan to cut payroll taxes in an effort to revive the economy and entice employers to hire more workers.

Obama wants to extend a payroll tax cut that is scheduled to expire at the end of the year and make it bigger. He reminded lawmakers in a speech to Congress on Thursday that if they fail to act, they will be allowing taxes to increase on nearly every worker who earns a wage, starting in January.

That is a prospect the president wants to avoid as he embarks on a tough re-election fight with unemployment stuck at 9.1 percent.

The tax cut is part of Obama’s package of nearly $450 billion in tax reductions and new federal spending.